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Keywords

Deciduous teeth; Dentistry; Lead levels; Lead poisoning in children; Nevada – Clark County; Pedodontics; Teeth

Abstract

Background: Elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) are declining in the United States, although some population subgroups continue to exhibit significant health disparities. A childhood lead poisoning prevention program was recently started in Nevada, and many efforts have been made to support this program and increase the screening rates.

Methods: To expand the potential pool of children screened for EBLLs, a pilot study was performed to evaluate lead concentrations in extracted deciduous teeth using Graphic Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (GFAAS), Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS), and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis.

Results: Lead concentrations as determined by GFAAS and ICP-MS were found to be within normal ranges (0.585 ppm ± 0.022) and were similar to previous studies. Hispanic patients exhibited higher lead levels (0.580 ppm ± 0.032) than Black (0.478 ppm ± 0.051) patients, and were significantly higher than White (0.275 ppm ± 0.035) patients (p < 0.05). Analysis of a small number of matched saliva samples, however, found no evidence for acute lead poisoning. Although limited by a small initial sample size (n=22), this pilot study provides evidence that teeth can be effectively used to reveal lead exposure in pediatric dentistry patients.