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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 22, 2020

Reference values of trace elements in blood and/or plasma in adults living in Belgium

  • Perrine Hoet EMAIL logo , Chantal Jacquerye , Gladys Deumer , Dominique Lison and Vincent Haufroid

Abstract

Objectives

Trace elements (TEs) from natural and anthropogenic sources are ubiquitous. Essential or not, their relevance for human health and disease is constantly expanding. Biological monitoring is a widely integrated tool in risk assessment both in occupational and environmental settings. However, the determination of appropriate and accurate reference values in the (specific) population is a prerequisite for a correct interpretation of biomonitoring data. This study aimed at determining the reference distribution for TEs (Al, As, Sb, Be, Bi, Cd, Co, Cu, Mn, Hg, Mo, Ni, Pb, Se, Tl, Sn, V, Zn) in the blood and/or plasma of the adult population in Belgium.

Methods

Blood and plasma samples were analyzed for 178 males and 202 females, recruited according to an a priori selection procedure, by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

Results

Reference values were established with high confidence for AsT, Cd, Cu, HgT, Mn, Mo, Pb, Sn, Se, Tl and Zn. Compared to previously published data in the Belgian population, a decreasing time trend is observed for Zn, Cd and Pb. Globally, the results also indicate that the current exposure levels to TEs in the Belgian population are similar to those from other recent national surveys.

Conclusions

These reference values and limits obtained through validated analytical and statistical methods will be useful for future occupational and/or environmental surveys. They will contribute to decision-making concerning both public health policies but also exposure assessments on an individual scale.


Corresponding author: Perrine Hoet, Louvain Centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (LTAP), Université catholique de Louvain, Institute of Experimental and Clinical Research (IREC), Brussels, Belgium, E-mail:
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Current affiliation: Fédération des Mutualités socialistes du Brabant, Brussels, Belgium


Funding source: CESI - Occupational Health Service

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank Francis Desmedt and Marleen Kestens (LTAP) for skillful (pre)analytical handling of the samples.

  1. Research funding: Part of this study was performed with the financial support of CESI (Occupational Health Service, Brussels, Belgium).

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individuals included in this study.

  5. Ethical approval: The Biomedical Ethical Commission of the Faculty of Health Sciences (Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels) approved the study protocol (CEHF 2015/544-B403).

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Received: 2020-05-20
Accepted: 2020-10-09
Published Online: 2020-10-22
Published in Print: 2021-03-26

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