Author(s): Hoppin JA, Aro A, Hu H, Ryan PB
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Abstract In vivo bone lead measurement using K X-ray fluorescence (KXRF) has been used to estimate long-term lead exposure, especially in adults. Relatively few studies have been conducted on young subjects with this technique. To explore the measurement variability of KXRF bone lead measurements in young subjects, the tibiae of two male cadavers from Boston, Massachusetts, 17 and 20 years of age, were obtained for repeated bone lead measurements. Bone lead concentrations were measured using a grid of nine locations, 1 cm apart, centered at the midpoint of the tibia. Each location was sampled using five 60-min measurements. Measured concentrations ranged from < 0 to 11.8 microg Pb/g bone mineral across a tibia with mean concentrations for the midpoint locations of 0.8 microg Pb/g bone mineral SD = 2.5 and 2.0 microg Pb/g bone mineral (SD = 1.9) for the left and right legs of the younger subject and 3.6 microg Pb/g bone mineral (SD = 2.6) and 6.0 microg Pb/g bone mineral (SD = 3.3) for the left and right legs of the older subject. Although bone lead concentrations did not vary significantly by measurement location in an individual leg, reported measurement uncertainty increased significantly at locations that were 1 cm from the center of the tibia horizontally (p < 0.0001). Symmetry in bone lead concentration between legs was observed for the 17-year-old subject. Potential asymmetry between the left and right legs was suggested for the 20-year-old subject (p = 0.06). These data describe the degree of variability that may be associated with bone lead measurements of young subjects with low bone lead concentrations using a standard spot-source KXRF instrument. Because of the importance of conducting additional research on adolescent lead toxicity, further improvements to the precision of KXRF measurement are needed.
This article was published in Environ Health Perspect
and referenced in Journal of Biometrics & Biostatistics