The Toxic Element Clearance Profile (TECP) is a toxic exposure profile that measures urinary excretion of 20 potentially harmful toxic metals. In addition to measuring classic elemental toxins such as mercury and lead, this profile includes elements used in medical, aerospace, nuclear, and high-tech electronic industries. Identifying exposure to these metals, then minimizing continued exposure is crucial for clinical improvement.
When should testing for toxic elements be considered?
Occupational and industrial exposure, or exposure through various hobbies may put patients at higher risk for toxicity. Those most at risk include workers in industries such as metal refining, alloying, parts manufacturing in aerospace and machine tools, electronics and computer manufacturing, welding, plumbing, construction, oil refining, mining, waste disposal, pesticide manufacturing and application, pigment and coating manufacturing, petrochemical production, dentistry, firearms and ammunition, and work with glass, dyes, ceramics, or paints.1-3
In addition to occupational exposures, everyday activities may put patients at risk of increased exposure to toxic metals: proximity to the above-mentioned industries where groundwater and air contamination can distribute metals, smoking, living in homes with older wells, pipes, and building materials, consumption of foods known to be contaminated with metals (seafood, rice), taking supplements from manufacturers lacking good manufacturing practice (GMP), use of personal care products and cosmetics, taking certain medications, exposure to emissions and exhaust fumes, and exposure to paints, dental amalgams, and fireworks.1-3
Symptoms and conditions associated with heavy metal toxicity
A wide range of acute and chronic conditions have been associated with toxic heavy metals including, but not limited to:
- Neurological disorders (neuropathy, headaches)2,4-6
- Cognitive decline2,4
- Mood disorders (depression)4
- Cardiac abnormalities (arrhythmias, abnormal ECG)7-9
- Reproductive issues5,8,9
- GI concerns (vomiting, diarrhea)4,6,8,9
- Lung issues4,8,9
- Renal impairment4,6,8
- Skin rashes4,9
- Anemia and other hematologic disorders8,12
View our Toxic and Nutrient Elements chart for more information on these metals and their sources and clinical significance.