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There’s gold on your body right now

Human hair contains traces of gold

Gold is present in low levels throughout the Earth. It’s been found on every continent except Antarctica, as well as in the planet’s core, the oceans, plants, and humans, too. The average human body of about 150 pounds is said to contain about .2 milligrams of gold, which we excrete through our skin and hair. Babies less than 3 months old tend to have more gold in their manes than older people, thanks to the precious metal being passed along in human breast milk. And while no one’s suggesting we should mine the gold in hair or breast milk (as far as we know), researchers are studying whether gold — and other metals — might be recovered from human waste.

Gold is far from the only metal found in our bodies, however. Researchers estimate that2.5% of the human body’s mass is made up of metals; think iron, cobalt, copper, zinc, calcium, and more. Many of these metals have important health functions — gold helps transmit electrical signals throughout the body, and plays a role in maintaining our joints. As for how gold and other precious metals got to Earth in the first place, some astrophysicists believe it’s all thanks to two neutron stars that crashed into each other about 4.6 billion years ago, leading to residual deposits of gold, silver, platinum, and more that eventually settled on our planet. Because these elements eventually found their way into our bodies, we can say that we truly are made of star stuff.

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