In-vivo and in-vitro measurements of lead and cadmium Academic Article uri icon

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  • Tibia lead is measured in vivo using X-ray fluorescence. A(109)Cd source is used to excite Pb K X-rays, and this signals is normalized to that from Rayleigh scattering to remove geometrical variations. The lower limit of detection is 10 μg/g for a mean absorbed dose, to the exposed section of the leg, of 100 μGy. Tibia lead correlated positively with age in normal volunteers (r=0.615,p=0.004) and with duration of exposure in occupationally exposed subjects (r=0.847,p=0.0001). When the X-ray fluorescence technique was applied to autopsy specimens previously analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometry there was excellent agreement between measurement techniques.Cadmium is measured in vivo by neutron activation analysis. The detection limit in liver is 6.5 μg/g for a local skin dose equivalent of 0.5 mSv and in kidney is 6.4 mg for a dose equivalent of 0.9 mSv to the skin. Detailed analysis of the γ-ray spectrum will produce only slight improvements in detection limit. Uncertainties in organ position during measurement, even after ultrasonic localization, are likely to produce uncertainties of 20-25% in cadmium measurement. Autopsy samples were measured, using a fast neutron activation method, from people previously measured in vivo. The results are broadly consistent, but show differences greater than those accounted for by counting statistics.


  • Chettle, David
  • Franklin, Diana M
  • Guthrie, Charles JG
  • Scott, Malcolm C
  • Somervaille, Lillian J

publication date

  • August 1987