Gadolinium in the water, how worried should we be?

January 18, 2019

 

 

For many years, the presence of gadolinium in the water supply has been described, especially around cities where many MRI systems are present (and a lot of GBCA used) and also near where GBCA manufacturing plants are. South San Francisco I believe is one of the earliest locations to describe gadolinium in the water table.

 

How worried should we be?

Personally I am more worried at the prospect of the EPA loosening restrictions on coal plant emissions, and other toxic environments. Much, much more worried. I am also worried about lead pipes used for water supply, and everything else we are doing with heavy metals. Gadolinium in water is way down on my list of worries.

Comparative virulency is something that has been described with infective organisms. I am not aware if there are comparative toxicity ratings of the various common heavy metals we encounter in the modern world. I doubt gadolinium is among the most toxic, and I suspect it is somewhere in the middle of the pack. What I have been struck with looking at 24 hour urine reports of GDD sufferers, it seems at least half have other heavy metals, often multiple, and often also lead.

Gadolinium may seem more toxic than the others, but this may be a reflection that it is the only one that we are injecting intravenously (main-lining, to use drug addict lingo) and the others come to us most often through oral consumption, and some (maybe more now thanks to the EPA) through inhalation. So oral intake would have much lower incorporation, inhalation perhaps more incorporation than oral, but both far less than iv administration.

So comparative toxicity rating amongst heavy metals would be interesting science, likely exists for some, but I am not aware of a broad range of metals so studied. Also bioavailability or incorporation of these metals by various administration routes is an important aspect of toxicity, and comparison between metals enlightening.  What the metal is attached to is also important as far as bio-availability.

 

Low concentration of Gd in the water table, overall I am not that worried - I am much more worried about what we are doing with all the other heavy metals, and that the EPA is allowing for more pollution. Ofcourse it is important to monitor how much gadolinium and other heavy metals are in water, and in what molecular form the gadolinium is in. My opinion is that most forms of gadolinium have very low absorption by oral route.... but we do need to know the molecular forms if we are to comment meaningfully on potential toxicity.

 

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