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THALLIUM (III ions)
Number 81 on the "periodic table" of elements
Tests the presence of ions of thallium III to a high degree of accuracy to
detect contamination in the body and on a wide range of materials in your environment
Thallium is a soft gray post-transition metal and is not found free in nature. Thallium is found in the minerals crooksite (CuThSe),
lorandite (TlAsS2), and hutchinsonite ((Pb, Tl)2As5S9)) but is usually obtained as a byproduct
in the production of sulfuric acid or as a byproduct of refining lead or zinc. Thallium tends to oxidize to the +3 (Thallium III) and +1
(Thallium I) oxidation states as ionic salts
Thallium, used in conjunction with sulfur or selenium and arsenic, forms low melting glass. Thallium sulfate (Tl2SO4),
an odourless, tasteless thallium compound, was once used as a rat and ant poison. It has since been banned from household use in USA and
many countries since 1974. Thallium sulfide (Tl2S), thallium iodide (Tll) and thallium bromide (TlBr) are all compounds used in
devices to detect infrared radiation.
Thallium is produced not from potassium ores commercially but as a by-product from refining of heavy metal sulfide ores. Approximately 60-70%
of thallium production is used in the electronics industry and the remainder is used in the pharmaceutical industry and in glass
manufacturing. Other uses are in infrared detectors. The radioisotope thallium-201 (as the soluble chloride TlCl) is used in small, nontoxic
amounts as an agent in a nuclear medicine scan during one type of nuclear cardiac stress test.
The major source of thallium for practical purposes is he trace amount found in copper, lead, zinc and other heavy metal sulfide ores. In
summary, sources of thallium are:
- Home and Environment - food and water
- Home grown fruits and green vegetables produced in areas adjacent to thallium releasing industry may contain thallium. Thallium is readily absorbed through plant roots.
- Water near hazardous waste sites has been shown to have elevated levels of thallium, as was the surrounding soil.
- Thallium is released by coal fire power plants, cement factories, and smelting operations, and can then deposit onto nearby soil and plants. This process is a common source of thallium exposoure.
- Individuals working in industries associated with thallium release regularly have higher levels of thallium due to deposition of thallium on their skin.
- Studies have found that those who smoke may be more exposed to thallium than those who do not smoke. Smokers have been shown to have twice as much thallium in their bodies when compared to non-smokers.
Toxicity and Symptoms
Thallium itself and compounds containing the element is highly toxic. It is particularly dangerous because the compounds containing thallium
are colourless, odourless and tasteless. Thallium can be absorbed from the skin as well as inhaled and ingested. Just more than 1 gram or
over 8 milligram per kg of body weight enters the body, symptoms of thallium poisoning develop.
These symptoms predominate early, usually within the first 3-4 hours, with the most common being abdominal pain with nausea/vomiting and
diarrhea or constipation. It is important to remember that, unlike most other metal salts exposures, gastrointestinal findings in thallium
toxicity may be mild or nonexistent, especially in chronic poisoning. Rarely, the vomitus and stools are bloody.
These symptoms usually appear 2-5 days (though some reports are for < 24 h) postexposure and include severely painful, rapidly progressive,
ascending peripheral neuropathies. This is generally the reason patients seek medical care. Pain and paresthesias of the hands and the lower
extremities, especially the soles of the feet, are also common. Distal motor weakness occurs, with the lower limbs more affected than the
upper limbs. Ataxia, tremor, athetosis, cranial nerve palsies, headache, seizures, insomnia, coma, and death may also occur.
The first cutaneous signs are not specific and include scaling of the palms and soles and acneiform or pustular eruptions of the face. During
weeks 2-3, a sudden onset of hair loss quickly progresses to diffuse alopecia. The hair loss primarily affects the scalp, temporal parts of
the eyebrows, the eyelashes, and the limbs. Less often, the axillary regions are affected. Hair discoloration may also occur. One month after
the poisoning, Mees lines (transverse white lines on the nails) appear in the nail plate. Other dermatologic findings include crusted
eczematous lesions, hypohidrosis, anhidrosis, palmar erythema, stomatitis, and painful glossitis with redness of the tip of the tongue.
Include tachycardia and hypertension. Significant ongoing tachycardia may be associated with a poor prognosis.
Some patients can experience pleuritic chest pain or tightness upon exposure. The mechanism for this particular symptom is unclear.
Toxicity and Symptoms
Thallium itself and compounds containing the element is highly toxic. Contact with skin is dangerous, and adequate ventilation should be
provided when melting this metal. Many thallium(I) compounds are highly soluble in water and are readily absorbed through the skin. Exposure
to them should not exceed 0.1 mg per m2 of skin in an 8-hour time-weighted average (40-hour work week). Thallium is a suspected human
Acute effects are:
- hair loss
- damage to peripheral nerves
- abdominal pain, nausea, vomitting
- sickness and dizziness
- scaling of palms and soles of feet
- chest pain
Check out thallium III levels in your body with our easy to use, home-based,
HMT Thallium Test kit
Sample of a HMT Thallium Test kit
Osumex HM-Chelat is most effective in eliminating heavy metals contamination in the
The above information is provided for general
educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace competent
health care advice received from a knowledgeable healthcare professional.
You are urged to seek healthcare advice for the treatment of any
illness or disease.
Health Canada and the FDA (USA) have not evaluated these
statements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent