Portable x-ray fluorescence for the analysis of chromium in nail and nail clippings
Assessment of chromium content in human nail or nail clippings could serve as an effective biomarker of chromium status. The feasibility of a new portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) approach to chromium measurement was investigated through analysis of nail and nail clipping phantoms. Five measurements of 180s (real time) duration were first performed on six whole nail phantoms having chromium concentrations of 0, 2, 5, 10, 15, and 20@?g/g. Using nail clippers, these phantoms were then converted to nail clippings, and assembled into different mass groups of 20, 40, 60, 80, and 100mg for additional measurements. The amplitude of the chromium Kα characteristic x-ray energy peak was examined as a function of phantom concentration for all measurement conditions to create a series of calibration lines. The minimum detection limit (MDL) for chromium was also calculated for each case. The chromium MDL determined from the whole nail intact phantoms was 0.88+/-0.03@?g/g. For the clipping phantoms, the MDL ranged from 1.2 to 3.3@?g/g, depending on the mass group analyzed. For the 40mg clipping group, the MDL was 1.2+/-0.1@?g/g, and higher mass collections did not improve upon this result. This MDL is comparable to chromium concentration levels seen in various studies involving human nail clippings. Further improvements to the portable XRF technique would be required to detect chromium levels expected from the lower end of a typical population.
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