THE BOTTOM LINE
The main purpose of conducting a human hair analysis is to reveal possible exposure to harmful toxic metals. This is done so that you can then do something about the exposure. We provide important exposure routes information within your result for all 32 metals tested.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classify the heavy metals Lead, Arsenic, Cadmium and Mercury and one non-metal – excess Fluoride – among the top ten chemicals of major public health concern. Ref: Ten chemicals of major public health concern
Why is exposure, even low-dose exposure to heavy metals, a problem? Many metals accumulate in our body over time. They interfere in mostly negative ways with our cellular metabolism. 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 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 ranging in time from several months to a year or more.
GETTING THE MOST FROM RESULTS
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 your level compares to a population sample average.
This support page contains many of the live features available within your 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.
EXTRA FOCUS ON CHILDREN
This is the case for all metals except Lead (Pb), Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd) and Mercury (Hg). These metal bars turn red when the result is only twice the sample average. We do this to prioritise children. These 4 heavy metals are very toxic to expectant mothers, developing embryos and young children during their developmental years. We realise that a red bar can provide more incentive to investigate possible sources of exposure and then to make life style changes as required to lower exposure to these toxic metals. We feel this is the responsible thing to do - for our children.
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 results. If you change your browser window size the results will adjust accordingly. The results also show your actual level expressed as mg of metal per kg of hair (or ppm – parts per million).
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.
We have ordered the individual results; the potentially nastier metals are shown in the first section and sorted alphabetically.
Note that in the "Additional Minerals tested" section, the bars don't turn red unless they fill the entire length of the range shown. This is simply to avoid unnecessary distraction. Caution messages are however shown if bars grow greater than twice the population average
There are links within your results (the metal name in blue) that take you to information about exposure routes and health effects of the particular metal. These reports are being updated regularly and expanded on. Our Silver Exposure Route Report provides a good example of the importance of being informed as the practice of technology and industry changes. Your chances of exposure to silver has significantly increased over the last decade with the rise of nano-particles.
Additional information includes, Date of test and Laboratory Job or ID number along with Age and Gender.
What a Hair CAN NOT tell you: A hair test analysis and the subsequent report is only useful for revealing toxic metal exposure information - especial low-dose chronic exposure. It is not possible to draw conclusions for an individual with regard to total body burden (of the metal), causal aspects of symptoms or current medical conditions in relation to a hair test result, nor to make any sort of diagnosis or prognosis from a Hair test result. World health Organisations (Including the WHO) make it very clear that toxic metals like Cadmium, Arsenic, Lead and Mercury are a significant health concern and that exposure to these metals (and others) should be avoided, especially in children.
Below are example results to indicate what they look like
Download Hair test Order Form and Instructions here.
Toxtest and Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL), a NATA certified laboratory and division of Southern Cross University in Lismore, NSW, Australia, collaborate to provide affordable Hair testing for the public. Result presentation is visually rich, informative and prioritises human health. The Toxtest Hair Test analyses 32 heavy metals & minerals. Our sister site, Toxno, provides extensive exposure route and health effects information for all chemicals tested.
EAL Managing Director
Have a Question?Go for it...
WHAT TO DO ABOUT YOUR RESULTS
First, do not embark on elaborate and often dangerous detoxification procedures just because your results contain red bars. The first thing to do is to identify possible exposure sources of those elements with red bars. These exposures can originate both from within the body or from contact with food, water, air or other aspects of your environment. We spend significant time researching and updating heavy metal exposure pathways and resultant health effects. We are gradually updating all 32 metal profiles to reflect the detail shown in the recently updated arsenic, silver and mercury profiles (Shown in red in the list below). 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 in combination with a thorough health history (in consultation with a health professional) and follow-up testing as indicated. (Water, Dust, Soil or Compost - especially if you grow your own food or have tank water)
Note that young children are particularly vulnerable to neurological health issues caused by even low-dose exposure to heavy metals.
Second, red bars do not mean that exposure to this compound at this point in time is causing you symptoms or even harm. 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) on human tissues.
The strategy then is to identify the source of any unwanted exposures, do the best to minimise further exposure, retest in the future and eat a nutrient dense diet, drink sufficient water, have saunas (known to efficiently excrete some toxins), get at least 8 hrs sleep and avoid long term unnecessary stress. Only consider chelation therapy if sources of toxic chemicals have been identified, exposure minimised and any identified symptoms correlate well with the known toxicology profiles of the metals in question.
Here are some of the latest examples, revealing what results look like.
Here are some of the latest examples, revealing what results look like.
Here are some of the latest examples, revealing what results look like.
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.
NATA Certified Laboratory in Australia
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 Hartmut 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 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, mental and physical problems and even reduce IQ. 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 your hair levels above "normal" or the population average. NOTE: All the metal results are visually standardised so the the first main notch ( 0.8 mg/kg in the case of LEAD above) on the result bar reflects the approximate population average.
How did I get exposed to a Heavy Metal?
It's easy and increasingly more common. Unless your have an occupational exposure (like working in a mine), then certain foods and water can contribute. However, as you will see, many sources exist. Read the profiles from your 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.
My urine and blood tests did not reveal any metals yet my hair test showed a long red bar. Why?
Urine and blood tests are used to show acute higher level exposures often associated with an occupation. However, low-dose long-term exposure is best revealed with a hair test. Blood and urine tests are not sensitive enough to reveal long-term low-dose exposures.
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.
Will you be testing animals?
Yes. Pets are very dear to humans and they are also sentinels that can protect us from unseen toxic heavy metal contaminants in our environment (that occur in food we and they eat, soil around our house, water we drink and carpets our children play on). We are already testing Dogs, Cats and Horses. More to follow upon request and may include Camels, Cows, Pigs, Lamas and Ducks, stay tuned. Any requests to have your animal assessed or other questions please use the form below.
How do we calculate the “sample 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 0.8 mg/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.
Our Sample Population Details
Cadmium as an example: How we determine the Sample Population Average
Toxtest Hair Analysis Sample Population Details - updated January 2020
Toxtest Cadmium Hair Analysis Data Details
Ask a Question using form below and we will add the answer in this FAQ list so that all can benefit.
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
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