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  QUESTION: Is 0.234 mcg/g Pb in top two centre teeth high, low, insignificant, significant, etc? 13 Oct 2006, California USA


I had contacted you in the past regarding testing of discarded baby teeth to determine lead levels and validate suspicions of past lead exposure. I got the test results back and I am now looking for information on how to interpret the results.

My daughter's top two center teeth were tested and came back positive for lead, with a measurement of .234 mcg/g. I need to find information as to whether this level is high, low, insignificant, significant, etc...

Any help you could provide would be appreciated!

Bill Zylla

ANSWER: 13 Oct 2006

Dear Bill,

when I saw your email this morning I immediately turned to our guru on all things lead in teeth or bone - Professor Brian Gulson (Head of our Technical Advisory Board) - and he had already sent you the following replies so I hope that clarifies things for you. You must be happy with the good news and understandably wanting confirmation!

All the best.
Elizabeth O'Brien


Dear Bill

These are some of the lowest values I have seen, especially as they would be from whole teeth (that is, a contribution from the mother during pregnancy and from early childhood).

Brian Gulson


Subject: RE: Question regarding interpretation of lead test results

Yes Bill,
See my paper from environmental health perspectives from 1996.

There are also no guidelines for tooth Pb data.


By B L Gulson and B R Gillings Lead exchange in teeth and bone--a pilot study using stable lead isotopes.Environ Health Perspect. 1997 August; 105(8): 820824.
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