THE BOTTOM LINE
"Finally, someone is focusing on us!"
Animals, like humans, can be exposed to toxic heavy metals. And like humans, animals can suffer and get sick as a result. The main purpose of this test is to reveal possible exposure to harmful toxic metals and metalloids. We do this so that you can then do something about it. In addition to the ways humans can be exposed to specific heavy metals, animals have unique exposures through the food they eat, the water they drink and the dirt and dust they live and play in.
And like humans, animals accumulate metals in the body over time. These metals interfere in mostly negative ways with body functioning. Left unchecked this eventually progresses, and often in this order - accumulation of metal in body tissues - then metabolic and cellular disruption - then physical or mental signs - then physical or mental symptoms and finally - chronic or recurrent illness.
More than half of the Metals & Minerals we test are known to be toxic, dangerous, carcinogenic or have unknown effects on animals and humans. Long red bars in your results make it imperative to investigate possible exposure routes. Evidence indicates that results with longer red bars correlate well with even low levels of consistent exposure to these metals.
GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR RESULT VISUALISATION
"Yes, but it has got to be clear, actionable and evidence-based. No pussy-footing around!"
THE COLOUR BARS
The objective of this visualisation is to make your result interpretation simple, quick and immediately clear and actionable. The colour and length of the coloured bars communicate the level of detected metal and how this level compares to a similar animal population sample average.
This page contains many of the live features available within your animal's results. We have chosen to show results online (de-identified of course) because this dynamic platform allows for a much richer and helpful experience along with the ability to receive relevant updates as they become available. We notify you via email and/or text message. You can also see and compare your results with others.
A beige coloured bar indicates that the level of metal detected in your sample is close to the sample population average or at least lower than four times the population average. If however your result is greater than four times our sample population average, the bar turns red. Additionally, a warning message is shown underneath if your result is greater than twice our sample population average.
RESULTS ARE "LIVE"
The examples shown below are “live” – they are currently real de-identified individual human results (animal examples will be here soon). If you change your browser window size the results will adjust accordingly. The results also show the actual level expressed as mg of metal per kg of animal hair (or ppm – parts per million) and a population average relevant to your Dog, Cat, Horse etc.
If the Lab can’t detect a particular metal in your sample – like Arsenic below – then this is indicated as below the Limit of Detection (LOD). If, on the other hand your metal level result is so high it goes beyond our full bar length – like Cadmium below – then we indicate this with a red warning sign below the visualisation along with a quantitative multiple of your result above the population average.
There are links within your results (the metal name in blue) that take you to important additional information about exposure routes and health effects. It is mostly for humans, however we will be adding additional animal species-specific (Dog, Cat, Horse etc.) exposure and health information over the coming weeks. Those of you that have already received your animals results will be notified via email and/or text when updates are available for your animal.
"We want to see some results."
WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR PET'S RESULTS
First, no need to embark on elaborate detoxification procedures just because results contain red bars. But you do need to make a good attempt at identifying possible exposure pathways of those elements with red bars. Exposures containing heavy metals can include food, water, soil or other aspects of your animals environment. We spend significant time researching and updating heavy metal exposure pathways and resultant health effects for humans and some of these are also relevant to animals. Take advantage of these, take your time and read carefully, especially if your results contain metals with long red bars.
Exposure to a heavy metal may have been happening for many months - even at low doses. Elucidation of possible exposure routes can be further enhanced by follow-up testing as indicated. (Water, Dust, Soil)
Note that young children under 5 years of age can spend significant amounts of time in similar environments as your pet cat or dog. High results for your pet could indicate similar exposures for young children. Hair testing is non-intrusive.
Second, red bars do not mean that exposure to this compound at this point in time is causing symptoms or even harm to your animals. However, longer red bars are indicative of higher exposure concentrations or frequencies and as such may increase the risk of adverse health effects in the long term, particular if the element has known adverse effects via toxicology studies.
The strategy then is to identify the source of any unwanted exposures, do the best to minimise further exposure, retest in the future and give your animal the highest quality diet possible, good clean water and help them avoid experiencing long term unnecessary stress like being left alone for long periods or getting to hot or cold or being bullied by other animals.
"We are so glad you are testing us horses. We're very sensitive to Lead."
ABOUT TOXTEST, TOXNO and EAL
Toxno, Toxtest and Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) at Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia, collaborate to provide innovation and an Australian first in hair, water, soil/compost or dust testing of 32 heavy metals and minerals. Our Hair or Water analysis is AU$98. Order forms can be downloaded below.
All results are published (de-identified) online and updated regularly as new health or exposure route information becomes available for each metal/mineral. All results are dynamic, contain instructions, have full support and contain clickable links to current health and exposure information for each metal/mineral.
Hair results are live and use innovative moving graphical visualisations, while our water and soil analyses concurrently visualise your results based on human, animal and agricultural guidelines - a true Australian innovation. See a large list of example Hair, Water, Soil and Dust results.
For the first time in Australia, human and animal hair testing is available to the public using the absolute latest Perkin Elmer Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometer at Environmental Analysis Laboratories in Lismore, Australia. Instrument detection limits are at or below the single part per trillion (ppt) level for many of substances tested. Because this test and the expertise is now available in Australia, we can keep the cost under $100. Veterinarians, health practitioners and trainers can utilise these tests for their clients.
"that's right, about time you focused on us"
How long does it take to get results?
Once our Lab (EAL, in Lismore, NSW, Australia) has received your sample, results usually are sent to you via email within approximately 7 working-days. Any Inquiries please Email or phone Toxtest owner (Hartmut) on 043954 7788
How are results delivered?
You are sent an email with a link to your live results. We do not provide a printed version of results (although you can off course print the screen of your results). This approach has been very well received and differs considerably in how companies in the US only provide static results.
We have implemented this innovation for the following reasons -
Your results contain links to important information relevant to your results. These links contain significant and thoroughly researched exposure route and health information, especially for the heavy metals.
The reports that contain exposure and health information are regularly being updated. We email or text you when this happens.
Innovative moving graphical visualisations make interpreting results quick and easy
Water and Soil analyses concurrently visualise your results based on human, animal, agricultural and industrial guidelines
Clients get a lot of value (and some confort) in seeing others results. All online results are off course de-identified.
Links are provided within results that makes sharing of results (with Vets, Trainers, family or health practitioners) quick and easy.
What is an "acceptable" level of a metal?
Some metals like arsenic, mercury or lead have no known useful function in the body. Further, they are known to cause serious health issues like cancer. However, we are naturally exposed to micro-levels of these metals from the geological environment and as such these are considered "background levels" or "normal" exposure levels. Adding further load from man-made sources like industry, medicine, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, mining, and especially food and water, can raise hair levels above "normal" or the population average. NOTE: All the metal results are visually standardised so the the first main notch ( 1.3 mg/kg in the case of LEAD above) on the result bar reflects the approximate animal population average.
How did my pet get exposed to a Heavy Metal?
It's easy and increasingly more common. Certain brands of pet foods (we will provide links to these shortly) and water can contribute. However, as you will see, many sources exist. Read the profiles from your animal's results to start getting an idea how this is possible. The good news is that you can do something about most exposures. It just takes a little reading and adjusting your day to day practices.
Will you be testing other animals
Yes. Camels, Cows, Pigs, Lamas and Ducks are on the radar - stay tuned. Any requests to have your animal assessed or other questions please use the form below.
Can I use these results to diagnose a medical complaint or assess my nutrition status?
Let’s be really clear here. Some people do. However, we think the evidence is weak or missing that clarifies as to whether you can use a hair test to diagnose a health condition or fully assess nutrition status. As mentioned above, the primary reason we offer this test is to give some indication if exposures to toxic metals has occurred over the previous months – even at low doses. Here the evidence is strong. In other words, exposure through air, water, food, soil or other means to harmful heavy metals correlates positively with levels detected in hair. The more the exposure, the higher the level in hair.
Significant bodies of research has shown the harmful effects of heavy metals like Lead (Pb), Cadmium (Cd), Arsenic (As) and others on human and animal health. However, as mentioned above, the hair test result cannot be used to confirm or refute a health diagnosis. The hair test results show exposures (that you can do something about by following the links in your results), not quantitative levels that reflect actual body burden and are in turn causally linked to health issues. The bottom line – many heavy metals cause health problems – a hair test can show previous low to high dose exposure to these metals – knowing possible exposures can help to change life-style practices and reduce exposures.
How do we calculate the “estimated population average” level of a heavy metal or mineral? I’m OK with details.
Our Water, Soil, Dust and Compost results use Australian Government guidelines to establish cut-off points (when the bar turns red within your result). In contrast, the Government does not provide guidelines or references ranges for Hair Tests. Blood and Urine tests use Reference Ranges to convey what is “normal” within a population or in other words – does your result fit into a certain range that is deemed as normal. In this case the reference range is estimated statistically. Your result is considered “normal” if your results lie within 2 standard deviations of the population average – in other words your results are approximately equivalent to about 95% of other people in the population – hence your results are considered “normal”. Our Hair test results also estimate a population average and use this to visually represent your results in a meaningful but non-alarmist way. The coloured bars within your results turn red when your result is more than 4 times the population average. This indicates a call to action – increased urgency to investigate exposures and make changes in lifestyle or work that would reduce these exposures to heavy metals.
Our Hair test population average is manually estimated based on the 4 sources of data shown next...
We decide which is more appropriate based on the spread of the data.
For instance, a client obtained a Lead result of 57mg/kg (See that our population average for Lead is only 1.3mg/kg). This is an outlier and we chose not to include this person’s result when calculating the population average. The reason we do this is because this person did something that most people don’t do – she was a semi-professional shooter and had very high weekly exposure to Lead via a shooting range. See our - Lead exposure from shooting ranges article for details how this is possible.
We look at levels of metals in hair both in “normal” populations and populations where exposures to certain metals are much higher – occupations like mining or geographical location like living near a volcano.
We compare our average using the above 3 methods to other laboratories around the world for a reality check and estimate our final population average metal hair result.
Is the “estimated population average” the same for humans and animals
Mostly, yes. However, when the literature indicates significant differences, often due to differences in human and animal metabolism, then we will adjust the estimated population average to reflect differences in that particular animal species. This avoids results appearing unnecessarily alarmist but also avoids under-estimating a real concern for the animal species in question.
Ask a Question using form below and we will add the answer in this FAQ list so that all can benefit.
"Like our horse brothers, we absolutely can't tolerate Lead."
About the owner
Hartmut Günther has an Hons Degree in Biochemistry and completed a 4 year part-time graduate diploma with distinction in Nutrition Medicine. He has worked with the NSW Cancer Council delivering health and nutrition programs. Currently he facilitates evidence-based classes at a state-of-the-art alcohol and drug rehab centre while maintaining a small clinic in Armidale, NSW, Australia. His widely popular and astonishingly useful book FoodSynergy provides reference based information for "Eating like a God". In 2014 he developed Toxno and in 2015 partnered with the Environmental Analysis Laboratory at the Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW to start Toxtest. He has a pet cat called Flop whom he converses with regularly.
It's not rocket science.
Less toxins, better health.
All impeccable analyses by
Environment Analysis Laboratories (EAL)
at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia
Innovative visualisation, research and education
by Hartmut Günther, founder at
Toxtest and Toxno
214 Beardy St, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Content on Toxtest is subject to copyright ©.
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