Well, the better question is "Does Lead produce anxiety and an exaggerated stress response?" I've known for years that patients with anxiety will tend to have higher than normal heavy metal tests. Both Lead and Mercury will play into this concern about stress and anxiety. I've also seen many patients who are prone to panic attacks or anxiety recover due to heavy metal chelation or removal of heavy metals from their system.
There is increasing evidence that children with higher lead levels in their blood will tend to have an exaggerated cortisol response mediated by their adrenal glands. It was found that the cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, tends not to drop over time as is usual in the normal fight or flight response. According to an article in the Environmental Health Perspectives the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Axis seems to be profoundly affected by the presence of lead in the body of children. During the testing period they stressed the children by submerging an arm in ice water for a minute and then measuring their cortisol output over the next hour. Usually cortisol output will spike in response to a stressor and then come down quickly as the stressful event is removed. This was not the case in the children with higher lead in their bodies compared to children who did not have higher lead. This report continues to reiterate the point that there really is no safe level of lead in the body.
This report corroborates my clinical findings that patients with a high urine toxic heavy metals test indicating higher levels of lead and/or mercury will benefit from heavy metal chelation to safely remove the lead or other heavy metals. Once this is done, the anxiety and an improved response to stress ensues. Just a note that conventional blood lead levels are usually insufficient as a mode of testing as the "normal" is currently set too high for adequate understanding of overall body load. Also, blood is not the optimal way to test for heavy metals as they rarely reside in blood for more than a few days. We already know that cardiovascular disease risk is increased by the presence of lead as is the issue of lowered IQ, and behavioral problems have already been associated with lead exposure in children. I strongly believe as more research in done the results will support the clinical findings that I've had in my office that overall lead, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals are responsible for numerous 'chronic' complaints and diseases.