RESEARCH PAPER
Beryllium concentration in pharyngeal tonsils in children
 
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1
Department of Toxicology, School of Pharmacy with Division of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland
2
Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Institute of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, Sosnowiec, Poland
3
Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine with Division of Dentistry, Medical University of Silesia, Zabrze, Poland
4
Department of Surgery Head and Neck Cancer of Greater Poland Cancer Centre, Poznan, Poland.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Ewa Nogaj   

Department of Toxicology, School of Pharmacy with Division of Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of Silesia, Sosnowiec, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2014;21(2):267–271
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Power plant dust is believed to be the main source of the increased presence of the element beryllium in the environment which has been detected in the atmospheric air, surface waters, groundwater, soil, food, and cigarette smoke. In humans, beryllium absorption occurs mainly via the respiratory system. The pharyngeal tonsils are located on the roof of the nasopharynx and are in direct contact with dust particles in inhaled air. As a result, the concentration levels of beryllium in the pharyngeal tonsils are likely to be a good indicator of concentration levels in the air. The presented study had two primary aims: to investigate the beryllium concentration in pharyngeal tonsils in children living in southern Poland, and the appropriate reference range for this element in children’s pharyngeal tonsils. Pharyngeal tonsils were extracted from a total of 379 children (age 2–17 years, mean 6.2 ± 2.7 years) living in southern Poland. Tonsil samples were mineralized in a closed cycle in a pressure mineralizer PDS 6, using 65% spectrally pure nitric acid. Beryllium concentration was determined using the ICP-AES method with a Perkin Elmer Optima 5300DVTM. The software Statistica v. 9 was used for the statistical analysis. It was found that girls had a significantly greater beryllium concentration in their pharyngeal tonsils than boys. Beryllium concentration varies greatly, mostly according to the place of residence. Based on the study results, the reference value for beryllium in pharyngeal tonsils of children is recommended to be determined at 0.02–0.04 µg/g.
 
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