Elevated dentine-lead levels in deciduous teeth collected from remote First Nation communities located in the western James Bay region of northern Ontario, Canada
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Teeth were collected from First Nation schoolchildren inhabiting the remote western James Bay region of northern Ontario, Canada. Lead levels in dentine chips were determined by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry, for naturally exfoliated deciduous teeth. Within exfoliated teeth (one tooth supplied per person), no significant differences in lead concentrations between tooth type were found (P = 0.36). The mean lead concentration of exfoliated teeth of 9.2 microg g(-1) dry weight (N = 61) from this remote region was comparable to levels reported by others for children inhabiting urban centers or residing near smelters. Further, 24.6% (N = 15) had elevated dentine-lead levels ( > 10 microg g(-1)). Lead levels in soil, water, and air have been reported as being low and unimportant sources of exposure for people of the western James Bay area. Evidence is reviewed suggesting that lead contaminated game meat was one source of environmental lead exposure. Consumption data indicate that wildlife is still an important food source for First Nation people of the western James Bay region; 98% (46/47) of the children surveyed consumed some type of wild meat.
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