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J Environ Monit. 2008 Oct;10(10):1226-32.

Determination of toxic and essential elements in children's blood with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry.

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  • 1University of Michigan-Dearborn, Department of Natural Sciences, 4901 Evergreen Road, Dearborn, MI 48128-1491, USA.


Recent studies have suggested that low blood lead level, less than 50 microg L(-1), can influence the neurobehavioral performance of children. In addition, nutritional deficiencies in some essential elements may increase the toxicity of lead, and some essential elements may influence the blood concentrations of lead and other toxic metals. These findings, coupled with the scarcity of available data on some elements in children's blood and the introduction of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT) to gasoline, accentuate the need to monitor the concentrations of lead, manganese, and other heavy metals and essential elements in children's blood. This study reports on the multi-element analysis of blood of South African school children using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The sample preparation consisted of a nitric acid/hydrogen peroxide open digestion and subsequent dilution with MilliQ water. The accuracy and precision were evaluated from quintuplet analyses of Seronorm trace elements whole blood reference material and human blood samples. Concentrations of lead, arsenic, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium, cobalt, and chromium in the blood of South African school children were determined. The average values were: lead 56.4 microg L(-1), arsenic 1.53 microg L(-1), manganese 8.48 microg L(-1), copper 1195 microg L(-1), zinc 3431 microg L(-1), selenium 176 microg L(-1), cobalt 0.80 microg L(-1), and chromium 1.25 microg L(-1). The level of lead was in line with some reported lower concentrations. The concentrations of arsenic and manganese were generally lower than those found in the literature. The concentrations of cobalt, copper, selenium, and chromium were higher than those found in other studies, whereas that of zinc was lower.

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