Lead remains one of the most hazardous toxins in our environment. Because the toxic effects of lead are most prominent during early development, it is important to develop a suitable biomarker for lead exposure during the pre- and neonatal periods. In the present study, the spatial distribution of lead was measured in the enamel and dentine of ten human primary teeth using laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The neonatal line, visualized using confocal laser scanning microscopy, was used to demarcate the pre- and postnatal regions of the sample teeth. Lead levels in pre- and postnatally formed enamel and dentine were compared to blood-lead levels measured at birth and one year of age for four of these participants. Mean dentine-lead levels ranged from 0.17 ± 0.02 to 5.60 ± 1.79 μg/g, and mean enamel-lead levels ranged from 0.04 ± 0.01 to 1.47 ± 0.20 μg/g. The results of this preliminary study showed that the spatial distribution of lead in dentine reflected the blood-lead levels. The present study demonstrates a methodology where the spatial distribution of lead in the dentine of human primary teeth may be used to obtain temporal information of environmental lead exposure during the pre- and neonatal periods.
- Laser ablation
- Primary teeth