This emotive term reminds us of the serial killers such as Crippin in the early 20th century in England, but unfortunately poisoning is taking place most of the time either unintentionally or by governments and industry turning a blind eye. There is very little that an individual can do to avoid environmental poisoning but supporting the charities and bodies that lobby on our behalf against such pollution is, I think, everybody’s duty.

We hear about the ozone layer and the pollution of our atmosphere, the disposal of toxic products into our rivers and streams, thereby polluting our rivers and seas, but we do little to recognize the toxification of our livestock and the application of pesticides and agrochemical is not criticized or closely monitored.

We have a suggestion that fumes from our babies’ mattresses may be involved in cot deaths, there is radiation from our televisions, microwaves and computers and very little is said to the masses who smoke in their houses leaving cancer-causing residues in the carpets, curtains, clothes and bedding that our children are fully exposed to.

It is a wonder that we survive and no wonder that most chronic disease processes are increasing. We survive them better because of the miracles of emergency medicine but we need to do something to protect ourselves individually and en masse. Environmental poisons Metal poisoning

There are many types of metal found in our environment, all of which can cause a poisonous effect. Those I have listed below are the most common.


The clinical features of iron poisoning are vomiting and bloody diarrhoea within a couple of hours of ingestion; 6-8 hours later dizziness, confusion, fainting and even coma may ensue. The pulse will be rapid and weak and if blood pressure is measurable it will be very low. This is due to iron having a direct effect on the cardiovascular system causing peripheral dilation. The individual may appear flushed at some point. If left untreated or if the levels are not high enough to cause the above collapse, then liver necrosis, renal failure and gut spasms can all occur.

RECOMMENDATIONS in earthenware pots, and an unsuspecting vagrant may drink lead in an anti-knock compound.

Lead poisoning can cause fits, anaemia, colic and constipation. Lead has recently been shown to be responsible for bad behaviour in children. Specific toxicity of the nervous system can cause weakness, specifically a weak wrist. This causes a characteristic sign called wrist drop. Another specific sign for lead poisoning is a blue line forming on the gums.


Investigate lead levels in the blood for a firm diagnosis.

An intravenous administration of a compound called EDTA binds with most heavy metals.

The homeopathic remedy Plumbum metallicum can be given, potency 30, every hour in an acute poisoning or twice a day over three weeks if the toxicity has been over a longer period.

Acute ingestion is a medical emergency and hospital treatment is required. This will include gastric aspiration and lavage (washing) and the use of a compound called desferrioxamine, which will bind with the iron in the gut, thus preventing absorption. This compound may be used intravenously if blood levels are found to be high.

The homeopathic remedy Ferrum metallicum should be given, potency 30, every 20min if poisoning has taken place at a single incident or twice daily if the poisoning has been over a period of time.


Most commonly ingested by a child who chews on a mercury-filled thermometer, this metal used to be the cause of ‘Hatter’s shakes’ because hat makers would paint mercury nitrate onto felt -thus the term ‘Mad as a hatter’. The features include anxiety/depression, an imbalanced walk, tremors that affect the face and limbs, blushing and excessive salivation.

Mercury poisoning may come about because of the use of mercury for filling teeth caries.



This is difficult to diagnose because the ingestion of lead is usually via cooking in lead pots or by those working in smelting and refining factories. Absorption used to be common through lead-based paints, either by painters and decorators or children who would chew on lead-painted toys. Rarely, lead can be ingested by drinking homebrewed wine or beers that were made and stored

Chelating agents, especially one called dimercaprol, are administered in hospital.

The remedy Mercurius 30 should be given every 15min in an acute poisoning and twice a day over three weeks if the poisoning has been over a prolonged period.

Agricultural chemical poisoning (pesticides)

There are approximately 5,000 different frequently used pesticides and other agrochemicals that affect all the foods provided to us that are not strictly organically grown. The intention of these is to stop the growth of fungi, yeasts, bacteria and viruses. They do an effective and excellent job and will continue to do so in our system unless we are able to wash them off. Unfortunately we need our fungal, yeast, bacterial and viral populations to maintain our health. This is not so easy because many of the chemicals are actually designed to penetrate into the food substance. This is especially the case when agrochemicals are used in animal produce such as beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish.

We are also exposing ourselves to chemicals through the use of insect repellents, weedkillers, lawn fertilizers, pet sprays and household cleaning agents.

The orthodox medical world claims that the levels that we ingest are negligible and cannot cause problems but these are also the same scientists who tell us that they have no idea why we have increasing asthma, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer … shall I go on? There is no doubt that these compounds do cause serious conditions such as cancer because numerous studies have shown that individuals who are exposed to these compounds, especially from youth, are more prone to have serious problems. It is possible that pesticides can actually cause genetic damage and therefore are particularly able to create illness in pregnancies and children. The effect of phosphate-based chemicals on the brain of children is known to create aggression, emotional problems and even schizophrenia. We also know that these chemicals can attack the nervous system, causing multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and Guillain-Barre-like syndromes. There are hypotheses that chronic fatigue syndrome and allergic responses may also be worsened, if not caused, by these compounds.

This may not be a problem for the human race in the long run because there is a strong correlation between declining sperm counts and agrochemical poisoning. There has been a marked and noticeable decline in sperm counts in the Western world over the last 20 years which coincides with a far greater increase in the use of these chemicals. All sufferers of chronic diseases and persistent or serious illnesses, and everyone who has been brought up with or exposed to agrochemicals should be tested for levels in their bloodstream. I only know of one laboratory in the UK that does this test.

The use of homeopathic remedies derived from any specific poisons should be administered at potency 30 twice a day for at least three weeks.

Wherever possible only eat organically grown foods.

These compounds tend to be stored in fats, so maintaining a lean weight is markedly beneficial, especially for those who work in the farming industry.

Discuss the matter with a complementary medical practitioner who may be able to set up a specific detoxification regime to be used on a regular basis and should also be able to provide a liver tonic.

Iatrogenic (doctor-induced) poisoning

One hopes that it is never the intention of a doctor to poison a patient but, unfortunately, this does occur all too often. Rarely is this due to a doctor’s mistake, more commonly it occurs because an individual does not tolerate a particular drug or the prescription label is misprinted or misread. Many drugs are taken as over-the-counter preparations and therefore are not actually doctor-prescribed but doctor-encouraged. I believe I read in a non-medical journal that over 2,000 deaths in 1994 were attributable to over-the-counter prescriptions being taken incorrectly.

The effect of poisoning may vary from a mild nausea to diarrhoea, vomiting and sweating. Persisting lethargy, tiredness, malaise or any physical symptom that does not clear up may be a gradual onset of poisoning. In any case, whether the symptoms are mild or marked, or the medicine was taken intentionally or unintentionally (say, by a child), any symptoms that may be associated with drug ingestion should be dealt with immediately.

Complementary medical practitioners are not blameless. Incorrect or overdosed prescribing of herbal medicines or, very rarely, supplements may also be toxic to the system.


If an acute or serious poisoning has occurred, contact your local GP or hospital for the telephone number of the Poison Centre in your area. Discuss any possibility of poisoning with the prescriber of the medication or, if you have doubts, get a second opinion.

Unless the medication is life-preserving, as in an antibiotic in a life-threatening disease, or a cardiac or epileptic drug, stop taking it, preferably after consultation with your doctor. Remember that steroids suddenly stopped may lead to a life-threatening crisis and these too should not be stopped without medical supervision.

Use a homeopathic remedy Nux vomica 6 every hour until the acute symptoms of poisoning have subsided.