Toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury are ubiquitous, have no beneficial role in human homeostasis, and contribute to noncommunicable chronic diseases. While novel drug targets for chronic disease are eagerly sought, potentially helpful agents that aid in detoxification of toxic elements, chelators, have largely been restricted to overt acute poisoning. Chelation, that is multiple coordination bonds between organic molecules and metals, is very common in the body and at the heart of enzymes with a metal cofactor such as copper or zinc. Peptides glutathione and metallothionein chelate both essential and toxic elements as they are sequestered, transported, and excreted. Enhancing natural chelation detoxification pathways, as well as use of pharmaceutical chelators against heavy metals are reviewed. Historical adverse outcomes with chelators, lessons learned in the art of using them, and successes using chelation to ameliorate renal, cardiovascular, and neurological conditions highlight the need for renewed attention to simple, safe, inexpensive interventions that offer potential to stem the tide of debilitating, expensive chronic disease.