“How did Beethoven end up with so much lead, as well as arsenic and mercury, in his body? The substances likely accumulated over decades of the composer’s life through food and drink, Rifai said.

Beethoven was known to favor wine, sometimes drinking a bottle a day, and he drank plumbed wine. A common practice dating back at least 2,000 years, the creation of plumbed wine involves adding lead acetate as a sweetener and preservative, Rifai said. At the time, lead was also used in glassmaking to give glassware a more clear and appealing appearance.

Beethoven also loved to eat fish, and at the time, the Danube River was a great source of industry, meaning waste ended up in the same river that was a source of fish caught for consumption — and that fish likely contained arsenic and mercury, Rifai said.”

From CNN.