In vivo measurement of lead in the bones of smelter workers using the four-element ‘clover-leaf’ geometry detector system
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A total of 497 smelter employees from New Brunswick participated in a bone lead survey conducted by McMaster University in 2008 to examine the efficiency of lead exposure control programmes and a four-element 'clover-leaf' geometry detector system. Nearly 42% of the subjects had participated in both the previous surveys performed in 1994 and 1999. After developing the clover-leaf geometry system in 2006, the reliability of the system based on examining the consistency of four detectors and improving the minimum detection limit (MDL) was tested for the first time in 2008 by measuring lead levels of a large population that was occupationally exposed to lead. The Z test was used to study the distribution of the lead concentration calculated based on K(α) and K(β) lead x-rays, where the results were broadly consistent with a normal distribution criterion, with relatively small means and standard deviations of between 1 and 2. The MDL of the clover-leaf geometry system was improved on average for tibia and calcaneus by a factor of 3.1 compared to the 1999 and 1994 surveys in which a conventional system (one detector) was used. Furthermore, by comparing the results of the three mentioned surveys, the 2008 results were found to represent the highest precision.
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