Elevated Pb levels in humans through environmental exposure are a significant health concern requiring scientific study of the sources of, and physiological response to this toxin. This requires a simple and precise method for measuring radiogenic Pb isotopes and Pb levels in blood. Presented here is a combination of methods for separation and analysis of Pb previously used predominantly for geologic samples. This includes separation of Pb from the complex matrix of blood samples using an Fe co-precipitation method, followed by isotopic analysis by multi-collector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Evaluation of the efficacy of this procedure shows that the precision of sample preparations as measured by % difference between the Pb-207/Pb-206 of duplicate analyses averages 0.064% (n = 48). Using the same preparation and analysis techniques to measure Pb concentrations by isotope dilution resulted in a reproducibility of better than 6%. The method was successfully used to measure uptake of ingested soil Pb in a study of the bioavailability of Pb in contaminated soils. (c) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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