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Abstract  

The association of sub-optimal selenium status with increased riskfactors for some cancers has been reported in two recent epidemiological studies.In both studies the same threshold in selenium status was observed, belowwhich, cancer incidence increased. To assess the use of nails as a biologicmonitor to measure the long-term selenium status, an eight-year longitudinalstudy was undertaken with a group of 11 adult subjects, 5 women and 6 men.Selenium has been measured by instrumental neutron activation analysis. Differencesbetween fingernails and toenails will be discussed. In addition, the resultswill be discussed in the context of the long-term stability of the nail monitorto measure selenium status during those periods when selenium determinantsare static; and the changes that occur as a result of selenium supplementation.

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Abstract  

A bench-scale method was developed to remove cobalt- and mercury-EDTA chelates from water onto macroporous char. Experimental parameters included variations on solution pH, char pre-treatment, cobalt oxidation state, and apparatus configuration. The use of 60Co and 203Hg radiotracers allowed for total accountability of the metals in the char and effluents. Overall experimental results demonstrate the applicability of treated macroporous chars for the effective removal of both cobalt and mercury EDTA chelates from aqueous solutions. The char system was optimized to sequester 97.5% and 99.8% of the cobalt- and mercury-EDTA from 20 ppm solutions, respectively.

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Abstract  

A experimental method to measure the fate and distribution of a variety of radionuclides under the ChemChar gasification process has been developed. The elements studied were arsenic, mercury, thorium, protactinium, uranium and neptunium. Results indicate that the ChemChar gasification system quantitatively retains these elements. In all of the cases except mercury the radiotracer was found to reside on the char matrix with small amounts (<1%) being found downstream in the condensation trap and char filter. Mercury, presumably as vapor, was entrained and distributed in significant amounts (≈40%) to the downstream char filter and its pre-filter. A methodology was developed to account for char height differences in quantifying the radiotracer on the char prior and subsequent to gasification. These results demonstrate the efficacy of using relatively short-lived radiotracers to characterize the behavior of hazardous elements during waste treatment via gasification.

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Abstract  

In soil science (ca. 1970), bromide ion (Br) in various forms (e.g., KBr, NaBr, SrBr2) was introduced as a non-reactive stable tracer in solute transport studies normally moving freely with the flux of water without substantial chemical or physical interactions with the soil. Typically, Br is extracted from soil and quantified using either a bromide selective electrode (sensitivity is ≈10μg/ml) or by high-performance liquid chromatography (sensitivity is ≈0.010 μg/ml). Where the sensitivity is adequate, the selective conductivity method, which is simple, affordable and fast, is preferred. More recently (ca. 1990), workers have reported that 20% of Br tracers, at low groundwater pH, may be adsorbed by iron oxides and kaolinite when present in the alluvial aquifer. We investigated the use of Epithermal Neutron Activation Analysis (ENAA) as a means of measuring Br directly in soil samples without an extraction. ENAA was chosen because of its high theoretical advantage factor over aluminum (i.e. ≈20), the principal interfering soil constituent, calculated for the79Br(n,γ)80Br reaction compared to27Al(n, γ)28Al. Br was measured (sensitivity is ≈0.050 μg/g) in one gram soil samples from a 5 s irradiation (φepi=2.5·1012 n·cm-2·s-1) using a BN capsule.

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Abstract  

Toenail samples were collected from 129 carpenters (average age 47). The bone and blood lead data for these carpenters have shown a broad range of lead-level exposure in this population. A total of 28 elements were measured in the sample set by a combination of instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS) methods. Of the elements measured, only Co, Cr, Fe, Na, Cd, Cu, F, and Ni were significantly correlated with lead. A statistical treatment of the overall data set, including principal component analysis, was further applied in an attempt to correlate the elements in the samples.

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Summary  

The evaluation of human nails as a measure of selenium intake and to assess selenium status in critical tissues is now being used routinely to investigate hypotheses relating selenium status to chronic disease, especially cancer. In this study we report on our observations of the major determinants of toenail selenium concentrations. Toenail specimens (3575) were, under a protocol we provided, self-collected by adult females (1940, 54.3%) and males (1635, 45.7%) living in 111 of Missouri's 114 counties. The health-conscious participants ranged in age from 18 to 94 years with means of 53.7±14.1 and 56.4±14.2 years for females and males, respectively. Selenium supplement use was over represented, 39.1% and 42.7%, and smoking was under represented, 7.5% and 7.8%, for females and males, respectively. The major determinants of toenail selenium concentration were supplement use, sex and cigarette smoking. We found no overall correlations with age, body mass index or diet selection.

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Abstract  

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a heritable osteoporotic bone disease, due to defects in either type I procollagen genes (COL1A1 or COL1A2), resulting in abnormal and/or reduced levels of type I procollagen and alterations in bone mineralization. Our long term objectives are to evaluate the impact of proα1(I) and proα2(I) collagen mutations and the role of the genetic background on bone mineralization. Tibias from wildtype, heterozygous (oim/+), and homozygous (oim/oim) animals were subjected to instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) to measure F, P, Na, Mg, Cl, Ca, K, and Zn using the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) pneumatic-tube irradiation facility.

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Summary  

Selenium is a required trace-element that has been found to be protective against serious chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease in some, but not all, epidemiological studies using both case-control and intervention designs. As a result, the fraction of the adult U.S. population now taking a daily selenium supplement is steadily increasing. In this study, we analyzed 10 or more replicate Se supplement tablets, from each of 15 different products representing 12 different brand names with most being sampled at two different times separated by approximately 30 months. Two chemical forms, seleno-yeast and selenate were tested in 50, 100 and 200 µg/tablet dosages (seleno-yeast) and 25 and 200 µg/tablet dosages (selenate). Variations in contemporary lots were evaluated at both sampling periods. The Se content provided on the product label is generally understated. One tablet contained 2.5 times more selenium than the stated dose. Selenate supplements are less accurately labeled and more highly variable compared to yeast supplements. One popular multivitamin, labeled at 200 µg/tablet, contained tablets in excess of 300 µg. Many subjects using this supplement will exceed the 400 µg/day tolerable upper limit of intake, recently established, for Se by the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: M. Mason, J. Morris, V. Spate, C. Baskett, T. Nichols, T. Horsman, L. Le Marchand, L. Kolonel, and S. Yukimoto

Abstract  

The measurement of dietary selenium intake in a free-living population using dietary recall techniques has been shown to be spurious. Consequently, in our laboratory, we have focused on the development of biologic monitors such as blood, nails, hair and urine. In this paper, we report on the neutron activation analysis of whole blood, plasma and nail specimens collected from 285 Caucasian subjects, all permanent residents of Hawaii, participating in a malignant melanoma trial. Correlations between monitors are presented and discussed in the context of selenium determinants and integration of selenium intake.

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Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Authors: V. Spate, J. Morris, S. Chickos, C. Baskett, M. Mason, T. Cheng, C. Reams, C. West, C. Furnee, W. Willett, and P. Horn-Ross

Abstract  

An epithermal instrumental neutron activation analysis (EINAA) method, using a boron nitride irradiation capsule compatible with use in the University of Missouri Research Reactor pneumatic-tube irradiation facility, has been developed for the analysis of iodine in human nails. The principal objective was to determine if the nail could be used as a means of monitoring dietary intake of iodine. The EINAA method was used to analyze nails from subjects having iodine intakes that could be qualitatively differentiated. Iodine concentrations in nails from these subjects were positively correlated with apparent iodine intake.

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