In vivo X-ray fluorescence of lead in bone: review and current issues.
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Bone lead measurements can assess long-term lead dosimetry because the residence time of lead in bone is long. Bone lead measurements thus complement blood and plasma lead measurements, which reflect more short-term exposure. Although the noninvasive, in vivo measurement of lead in bone by X-ray fluorescence (XRF) has been under development since the 1970s, its use is still largely confined to research institutions. There are three principal methods used that vary both in the how lead X-rays are fluoresced and in which lead X-rays are fluoresced. Several groups have reported the independent development of in vivo measurement systems, the majority adopting the 109Cd K XRF method because of its advantages: a robust measurement, a lower detection limit (compared to 57Co K XRF), and a lower effective (radiation) dose (compared to L XRF) when calculated according to the most recent guidelines. These advantages, and the subsequent widespread adoption of the 109Cd method, are primarily consequences of the physics principles of the technique. This paper presents an explanation of the principles of XRF, a description of the practical measurement systems, a review of the human bone lead studies performed to date; and a discussion of some issues surrounding future application of the methods.
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