Toxic Non-Metal Chemical Profile

2-hydroxyethyl mercapturic (HEMA)

Optimal Result: 0 - 0.8 µg/g creatinine.

HEMA is a metabolite of ethylene oxide, which is used in the production of agrochemicals, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products.

Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been determined to be mutagenic to humans.

HEMA is also a metabolite of vinyl chloride and halopropane, which are used in many commercial chemical processes such as foam glueing, dry cleaning, and in the production of solvents.

What does it mean if your 2-hydroxyethyl mercapturic (HEMA) result is too high?

High HEMA may be due to exposure to ethylene oxide, which is used in many different industries including agrochemicals detergents, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products. Ethylene oxide is also used as a sterilant on rubber, plastics, and electronics. Chronic exposure to ethylene oxide has been determined to be mutagenic to humans. Multiple agencies have reported it as a carcinogen. Studies of people exposed to ethylene oxide show an increased incidence of breast cancer and leukemia. Ethylene oxide may be difficult to detect since it is odorless at toxic levels.

High HEMA may also due to exposure to vinyl chloride, an intermediate in the synthesis of several major commercial chemicals, including polyvinyl chloride, and used in the past as an aerosol propellant. Exposure to vinyl chloride has been associated with increased incidence of autism. High concentrations of vinyl chloride may cause central nervous system depression, nausea, headache, dizziness, liver damage and liver cancer, degenerative bone changes, thrombocytopenia, enlargement of the spleen and even death. To reduce exposure to vinyl chloride, eliminate use of plastic containers for cooking, reheating, eating or drinking (especially warm or hot) food or beverages. Replace these containers with glass , paper, or stainless steel whenever possible. Elimination of vinyl chloride can also be accelerated by sauna treatment, the Hubbard detoxification protocol employing niacin supplementation, vitamin B-12 therapy, by glutathione (reduced) supplementation (oral, intravenous, transdermal, or precursors such as N-acetyl cysteine [NAC]).

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