The amount of lead in the superficial enamel of deciduous teeth from 4- and 5-year-old children was determined by means of an enamel biopsy followed by lead analysis by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. Children examined in this study ( n =329) attended public preschools in the city of Piracicaba, SP, Brazil. The selection of preschools was based on geographical location: some were located in an industrial area of the city, whereas others were located in an area devoid of industries. The objectives of this study were (1) to test whether enamel biopsies were an appropriate method for lead content population screening in young children; (2) to verify the lead content of superficial enamel of preschool children's deciduous teeth and to compare the results obtained from children exposed to different environments; (3) to analyze how biopsy depth correlated with lead content and affected comparisons between groups. An adhesive tape with a central hole (diameter=1.6 mm) was placed on one of the upper central incisors. Five microliters of 1.6 mol l −1 HCl in 70% glycerol (v/v) were applied to this area for 20 s, followed by a rinse with 5-μl ultrapurified water for 10 s. It was shown that the technique was feasible for population studies on young children. The lead concentration in enamel biopsies from the industrial area children (median: 169 ppm Pb) was significantly higher than that from the children living far from industries (118.1 ppm Pb) ( P <0.0001). Analysis of the data showed that biopsies deeper than 3.9 μm gave more reliable results for comparisons between groups. To our knowledge, this study is the first to use an enamel microbiopsy to characterize a large sample of young children in vivo for lead monitoring in teeth.
Science of the Total Environment – Elsevier
Published: Mar 5, 2004
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