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In the United States lead is an ubiquitous environmental pollutant that is a serious human health hazard, especially for women of childbearing age, developing fetuses, and young children. Information concerning the uptake and distribution of lead to maternal and fetal tissues during pregnancy is poorly documented. A study was designed using domestic swine and lead isotope enrichment methodology to focus on maternal absorption and distribution of lead into bone and soft tissues, including the fetal compartment, under varying conditions of oral lead exposure and during altered physiological states (pregnant vs unbred). Total lead levels and Pb207/Pb206 ratios in bone (femur and vertebra), blood, and soft tissues (liver, kidney, brain) were determined by ICP-MS. Lead in fetal tissues derived from maternal bone could be differentiated from that derived from exogenous dosing. Unbred swine absorbed much less lead than pregnant females receiving the same dose. The accuracy and precision of ICP-MS at the instrumental level and for the entire method (sample collection, digestion, and analysis) were evaluated for both Pb207/Pb206 ratios and total lead. Several changes were suggested in method design to improve both instrumental and total method precision.
Additional Publication Details
A lead isotope distribution study in swine tissue using ICP-MS