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Teeth as indicators of exposure of children to lead
  1. David J. Stewart

    Abstract

    Deciduous molars, extracted from a total of 310 children aged between 3 and 10 years who resided in urban, suburban, and rural environments in Northern Ireland, were analysed for lead by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

    Tooth lead content increased with age and was influenced by the nature of the donor's environment. Lead concentrations were greatest in the teeth of children in the urban group and least in the rural group, with suburban specimens intermediate.

    Deciduous teeth, available in quantity due to the high prevalence of dental caries, can conveniently be used as indicators of the past exposure of children to lead contamination. The analytical method is suitable for use on a sufficient scale to enable comparisons to be made between communities.

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