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Spatial distribution of lead in human primary teeth as a biomarker of pre- and neonatal lead exposure *

Lead remains one of the most hazardous toxins in our environment. Because the toxic effects of lead are most prominent during early development, it is important to develop a suitable biomarker for lead exposure during the pre- and neonatal periods. In the present study, the spatial distribution of lead was measured in the enamel and dentine of ten human primary teeth using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The neonatal line, visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy, was used to demarcate the pre- and postnatal regions of the sample teeth. Lead levels in pre- and postnatally formed enamel and dentine were compared to blood-lead levels measured at birth and one year of age for four of these participants. Mean dentine-lead levels ranged from 0.17 ± 0.02 to 5.60 ± 1.79 μg/g, and mean enamel-lead levels ranged from 0.04 ± 0.01 to 1.47 ± 0.20 μg/g. The results of this preliminary study showed that the spatial distribution of lead in dentine reflected the blood-lead levels. The present study demonstrates a methodology where the spatial distribution of lead in the dentine of human primary teeth may be used to obtain temporal information of environmental lead exposure during the pre- and neonatal periods.


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Published on 01-28-2010
Authors: Manish Aroraa, Brendan J. Kennedyb, Suzy Elhlouc, Norman J. Pearsonc, D. Murray Walkera, Penelope Bayla and Sheena W.Y. Chana
Source: Science of The Total Environment, Volume 371, Issues 1-3, 1 December 2006, Pages 55-62