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2014 | 1 | 1 |

Article title

Saliva as a matrix for biomonitoring of occupational and environmental exposure to lead


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Background: To evaluate whether salivary lead can be
used as a surrogate for blood lead, and if so, over what
concentration range. Methodology: Three saliva devices were evaluated and
one chosen to undertake this project. Paired saliva and
blood samples were collected from 89 UK lead workers.
Lead concentrations were determined using ICP-MS. In
addition, haemoglobin and ZPP levels were determined
in the blood samples and albumin was determined in
the saliva samples to investigate standardisation using
protein adjustments. Results: The chosen saliva device gave low but consistent
recoveries for lead in saliva and the blank levels were low.
The mean +/- SD blood lead level was 19.9 +/- 14 μg/dl;
the mean +/- SD saliva lead level was 19.1 +/- 32.5 μg/l for
89 workers. Log10-transformed data showed correlation
of r=0.69. The protein adjustments did not improve the
blood-saliva correlation. Conclusions: This study has demonstrated that salivary
lead measurement is feasible and correlated with blood
lead levels, at least at occupational exposure levels, and
may have value as a screening technique. Correlation
may improve at environmental levels where exposures
are generally more consistent and chronic, although this
needs to be demonstrated in a genuine environmental










Physical description


11 - 9 - 2014
19 - 6 - 2014
3 - 10 - 2014


  • Health and Safety
    Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, SK17 9JN, UK
  • Health and Safety
    Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, SK17 9JN, UK
  • Health and Safety
    Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, SK17 9JN, UK
  • Health and Safety
    Laboratory, Harpur Hill, Buxton, SK17 9JN, UK
  • Public Health England, Centre for Radiation Chemical
    and Environmental Hazards, Didcot, OX11 0RQ


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