A popular metal used in mobile phones, wedding rings, light bulbs, computers and various other consumer products has been linked in a new study to increasing the risk of stroke. Researchers from the University of Exeter in the U.K. observed a direct association between tungsten levels in the blood and stroke risk, meaning that participants with the highest levels of the heavy metal in their systems were also the most prone to developing the circulatory condition.
To draw these conclusions, the team collected and analyzed data on more than 8,600 Americans between the ages of 18 and 74, all of whom provided urine samples to test for tungsten. Over the course of 11 years, these same individuals were assessed for stroke risk in comparison with their respective tungsten levels to see if there is any correlation between the two.
After accounting for other potential risk factors, such as age, socioeconomic status, body mass index, tobacco and alcohol use and occupation, the team found that tungsten may very well be a causative factor in increasing one’s risk of having a stroke. Compared to those with lower levels of the heavy metal in their bodies, those most exposed were observed to have the highest risk of developing the disease.
“Tungsten is known to be capable of biological interaction and disruption of biochemical pathways and therefore the human health impact must be considered,” wrote the researchers in their study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Tungsten combines with other heavy metals, toxins to cause even more health damage
Some scientists have questioned whether or not tungsten alone is really all that problematic, especially considering that it is not typically regarded as one of the more troublesome heavy metals. But it is known that complex exposure to tungsten along with other heavy metals is definitively harmful, and probably in ways which we are only just beginning to understand.
Tungsten is also commonly alloyed with other metals such as nickel and copper, which is likely exacerbating the problem even further.
“The relationship we’re seeing between tungsten and stroke may only be the tip of the iceberg,” stated Dr. Nicholas Osborne, one of the study’s co-authors. “As numerous new substances make their way into the environment, we’re accumulating a complex ‘chemical cocktail’ in our bodies. Currently, we have incredibly limited information on the health effects of individual chemicals and no research has explored how these compounds might interact together to impact human health.”
Tungsten production increasing, causing heavy metal poisoning of water aquifers
While exposure to tungsten has traditionally been low, production of the metal for use in consumer electronics is rapidly increasing. According to the study, production of tungsten has nearly doubled since 2002, rising from 40,000 tons annually to 72,000 tons annually. Soil pH levels are also having a major effect on environmental exposure to tungsten.
“When soil pH falls, tungsten becomes increasingly soluble and can leach into underlying aquifers,” wrote the authors. “With production of tungsten steadily rising, and use becoming more widespread, the potential for tungsten to further contaminate the environment is increasing.”
This is all quite interesting, as the so-called “chemtrail” phenomenon, or those blasts of aluminum, barium and other toxic substances that many say are being sprayed into our skies to prevent “global warming,” is said to be responsible for lowering soil pH levels all across the globe. If legitimate, this active form of weather modification may also be responsible for increasing the toxic impact of tungsten in the environment.
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