People are crazy over kale, the vegetable jam-packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. It's been placed in soup and pasta; it's been added to salads or has composed entire salads; it's been juiced, blended to a smoothie, baked into chips, and so much more.
But this superfood was found to have dangerous levels of heavy metals. Ernie Hubbard, a molecular biologist, found that kale, as well as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, is a "hyper-accumulator" of heavy metals like thallium. For those who don't know, thallium, a by-product of smelted metals, is highly toxic; so much so that it's used for rat and ant poison. Other metals found in these greens—both organic and the standard produce—were nickel, lead, aluminum, and arsenic.
A number of people have already been affected by the thallium in kale. Take Laura Fenamore, a 52-year-old vegetarian who works out for two hours and ate kale every day. Her thallium level was 0.7 parts per million, which is seven times higher than the "threshold" limit; the thallium level in her urine was 4,700 times higher than most Americans. She suffered from fatigue, falling hair ("in clumps"), and felt "foggy in the brain."
And that's exactly what people who've consumed enough of the metal (but not at the poisonous level yet) get: fatigue, heart arrhythmia, nausea, digestive trouble, neurological problems, and hair loss. What's the poisonous level? One gram of it can give a person weighing 62 kilograms a 50/50 chance of dying in three days, unless treated.
Heavy metals in vegetables are really a cause of concern, especially since people consume them in big quantites. It's not just the thallium, no matter how alarming its effects already are. David Quig, the lead scientist of Doctors Data, stated "If you get a little thallium, and a little lead, and a little cadmium in your system, you’ve got one plus one plus one equals five or six, not just three." He means to say that they all have different effects on the body but they all disrupt the metabolism.
So far there hasn't been any word on how to get rid of the metals present in kale since water gets contaminated as well. Do we need our coffee makers to wash it, too?
Follow Stephanie on Twitter.