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Can smoking cause a buildup of heavy metals in the bloodstream?

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Smoking tobacco can cause a buildup of toxic heavy metals in smokers' bloodstreams, according to WebMD and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Long-term exposure to heavy metals absorbed by tobacco leaves, such as lead, copper, chromium and uranium, can increase a smoker's risk of cancer, states WebMD.

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Research shows that the blood cadmium level in smokers is higher than the blood cadmium level in nonsmokers, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Body tissue measurements of cadmium support this by showing that smokers have approximately double the cadmium body burden of nonsmokers. The heavy metal is a known carcinogen, and long-term exposure to it may also cause problems with smokers' kidneys, bones and lungs.

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