HGTV star Christina Hall announced she has been diagnosed with mercury and lead poisoning.
In a message on her Instagram story, Hall said that it was likely caused “from all the gross houses,” she worked on while filming “Flip or Flop.” (The home renovation series, which starred Hall and her ex-husband Tarek El Moussa, came to an end in March after a 10 year run.)
Hall noted that she also has a “small intestine bacteria overgrowth."
"So we are first detoxing all of this through herbs and IV and then see how I feel and tackle implants," she wrote on Dec. 22.
The implants Hall is referring to are her breast implants, which she believes could affecting her health, according to a Dec. 17 Instagram post. In the caption, the "Christina on the Coast" star revealed that she’s been experiencing a wide range of symptoms including unexplained skin rashes, joint and muscle pain, dry eyes, swollen lymph nodes, acid reflux and brain fog.
Dr. Robert O. Wright, a medical toxicologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, told TODAY.com that lead and mercury were used in house paints before 1978.
“If she’s renovating old homes, she's around old paint,” Wright explains. “In the process of tearing down walls, you create dust and powders that you inhale.”
Wright says that wearing respiratory protection fitted with filters is key. But masks aren't fool-proof — it's possible to have one.
“There are masks that bring clean air in front of you so that you don’t inhale dust and fumes,” he says. "You'll see construction workers wearing them. They are at highest risk for exposure."
Wright describes the symptoms of mercury and lead poisoning as being “fairly insidious.” The most affected organs are typically the kidneys and the brain.
“The kidney effects might be hypertension, but that doesn’t typically give symptoms until it gets really severe,” he says. “As far as the neurotoxic effects, you might have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You’ll see some behavioral changes.”
Mercury and lead poisoning is typically treated with chelation therapy, which involves weekly IV treatments.
“There are drugs that will bind to lead and mercury and promote their excretion through the urine,” Wright says. “But that’s only done when the levels are a particular number.”