Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1982;8(4):267-272    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2467

Lead levels determined in Swedish permanent teeth by particle-induced X-ray emission.

by Moller B, Carlsson LE, Johansson GI, Malmqvist KG, Hammarstrom L, Berlin M

The determination of lead in permanent teeth is a useful measure of past exposure in early childhood since these teeth are mineralized in early childhood. Particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) analysis has been shown to be a method with good applicability for the contamination-free analysis of elements heavier than calcium in dental hard tissues. The method is rapid and nondestructive. The purpose of this study, which used the PIXE technique, was to survey the average level of lead in the coronal dentin of permanent bicuspid teeth collected in three places representing Swedish urban and rural areas. In addition teeth from the New York City area were analyzed. The material comprised 165 teeth from Sweden and, for comparison, 14 teeth from New York City. The median value of lead in the Swedish teeth was 2.9 micrograms/g, a value indicating an insignificant influence from the environment in comparison to the New York teeth, for which the median value was 9.2 micrograms/g. There was however a statistically significant difference in the lead concentration of teeth from large and small Swedish cities; this finding may reflect different automobile traffic intensity.