About This Test

Heavy metals, also known as toxic metals, can cause poisoning in individuals who are exposed to them. These toxic metals are extremely harmful to human health and depending on the levels of exposure and the time they have been present in our systems, they could result in permanent organ damage or even death. Testing for heavy metals can be used to screen or monitor exposure to heavy metals in cremated remains of a loved one and is highly recommended if they worked in a field which may have exposed them to toxic metals or when a health care practitioner advises you to take such a test.

Testing for heavy metals in cases of suspected poisoning

Heavy metal testing on cremated remains can also be used in cases of suspected poisoning on the deceased. While the high temperatures used in cremation will destroy all traces of medicines or anything ingested by the deceased, any traces of heavy metals will not be destroyed and will be detected under laboratory analysis.

Standard turnaround for heavy metals testing is 10 working days.

What are heavy metals?

Heavy metals are a group of metals which are all naturally occurring. They are very dense metals and considerably heavier than other light metals such as aluminium or magnesium. It is important to note that heavy metals actually refer to a broad group of metals and not all these are toxic. Some heavy metals are essential nutrients in our diets (such as iron or cobalt) but some are highly toxic metals and these include mercury, arsenic, lead, chromium and cadmium.

What does your standard heavy metal testing panel include?

Our standard heavy metal testing panel includes the 5 following metals:

 

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

You may also add on other metals at a small additional fee. These include:

 

Aluminium (Al) Antimony (Sb) Arsenic (As) Barium (Ba) Beryllium (Be) Cadmium (Cd)
Calcium Acetate (Ca) Chromium (Cr) Cobalt (Co) Copper (Cu) Iron (Fe) Lead (Pb)
Manganese (Mn) Magnesium (Mg) Mercury (Hg) Molybdenum (Mo) Nickel (Ni) Potassium (K)
Selenium (Se) Silver (Ag) Sodium (Na) Thallium (Tl) Vanadium (V) Zinc (Zn)

What samples can be tested?

A number of samples can be collected to establish the presence of heavy metals. Most often we test cremated remains but other samples, such as soil or water, can be sent in for testing upon request.

Results of heavy metal testing

Results are highly accurate as the lab uses inductively coupled argon plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to detect elements in a range of parts per million (ppm). The final report will list the sample result (ppm) and specify whether that finding is within normal range or higher than what is considered acceptable.

DNA testing on cremated remains

If you wish to carry out further testing on cremated remains we can offer Cremated remains DNA testing. If we successfully manage to extract a DNA profile, you have the option to compare this profile to the profile of a living relative to confirm that the two individuals are related. The DNA from the living relative can be collected using an oral swab.