Concentrations of Cd (475 samples), Pb (271), and total Hg (166) were determined in the organs and tissues during autopsies of inhabitants of the Tokyo metropolitan area who had experienced no known exposure to an abnormally high level of heavy metals and had died sudden deaths by accident. The results of this study do not differ greatly from those of other reports. Based on the intraorganic accumulation of the heavy metals according to age when they were not experimentally administered, the biological half-time (BHT) was estimated using a mathematical model with differential equations. It was hypothesized that the input of heavy metals into organs is proportional to the amount of food intake according to age (assuming little or no chronological change of heavy metals concentrations in food over several decades), and that the output is proportional to the intraorganic accumulation. The resulting BHT was very long, 10 to 100 times that computed in a number of studies from observation of the attenuation curve for a relatively short period after the experimental adminstration of heavy metals to humans or animals.
The author devised a model consisting of two series compartments in one organ: the superficial, where heavy metals enter directly and are weakly bound with protein, and the profound, where they enter only via the superficial compartment to be strongly bound with the constituents. It was elucidated theoretically that the short BHT obtained by heavy metal administration is associated only with the superficial compartment of the organ, and that the long BHT obtained without experimental administration of heavy metals is due to the detour circuit from the superficial to the profound compartments. The ratio of the short BHT to the long BHT is the proportion of the content of a heavy metal in the superficial compartment to the total content in the whole organ. In order to prove the existence of the two compartments, superficial and profound, and to compute their ratios, further studies should be performed. The attenuation curve of the concentration, or of the amount after a single administration of a heavy metal, consists of the rapid component (first) and the slow component (second). The latter has been generally used for computation of BHTs. The slowest component is frequently present several years after the first two. There is a fair chance that the BHT based on the slowest component agrees with the BHT found in the present study.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Aberg, B., Ekman, L., Falk, R., Greitz, U., Persson, G., Snihs, J. O.: Metabolism of methylmercury (203 Hg) compounds in man. Arch. Environ. Hlth. 19,478–484 (1969)
Bakir, F., Damluji, S. F., Amin-Zaki, L., Murtadha, M., Rhalidi, A., AL-Rawi, N. Y., Tikriti, S., Dhahir, H. I., Clarkson, T. W., Smith, J. C., Doherty, R. A.: Methylmercury poisoning in Iraq. Science 181, 230–241 (1973)
Barry, P. S. I., Mossman, D. B.: Lead concentration in human tissues. Brit. J. Ind. Med. 27, 339–351 (1970)
Barry, P. S. I.: A comparison of concentrations of lead in human tissues. Brit. J. Ind. Med. 32, 119–139 (1975)
Bolanowska, W., Piotrowski, J., Trojanowska, B.: Kinetics of distribution and excretion of lead (Pb-210) in rats. I. The distribution of a single intravenous dose. Med. Pracy 18, 29–41 (1967) [in Polish with English summary]
Bolanowska, W., Piotrowski, J.: Kinetics of distribution and excretion of lead (Pb-210) in rats. II. Excretion of a single intravenous lead dose. Med. Pracy 19, 133–142 (1968) [in Polish with English summary]
Bolanowska, W., Piotrowski, J.: Kinetics of distribution and excretion of lead (Pb-210) in rats. III. The retention and excretion of lead given in daily intravenous injections. Med. Pracy 20, 494–503 (1969) [in Polish with English summary]
Draper, N. R., Smith, H.: Applied regression analysis. New York: John Willey and Sons 1966
Friberg, L., Vostal, J.: Mercury in the Environment. Cleveland: CRC Press 1972
Friberg, L., Piscator, M., Nordberg, G. F., Kjellström, T.: Cadmium in the Environment. (2nd ed.), Cleveland: CRC Press 1974
Gross, S. B., Pfitzer, E. A., Yeager, D. W., Kehoe, R. A.: Lead in human tissues. Toxicol. Appl. Pharm. 32, 638–651 (1975)
Imbus, H. R., Cholak, J., Miller, L. H., Sterling, T.: Boron, cadmium, chromium and nickel in blood and urine. Arch. Environ. Hlth. 6, 286–295 (1963)
Kitamura, S., Kondo, M., Takizawa, Y., Fujii, M.: Mercury. Tokyo: Kodansha 1976 [in Japanese]
Kjellström, T., Nordberg, G.F.: A kinetic model of cadmium metabolism in the human being (to be published)
Mitsui, T.: Mesurements of renal cortex and medulla from Japanese twins. Keio Igaku 25, 18–22 (1948) [in Japanese]
Mori, M.: Handbook of anatomy (Kaibogaku Yoran), Tokyo: Nanzando Book Co. 1960 [in Japanese]
Nomiyama, K.: Critical concentration and biological half-time of cadmium in the renal cortex of humans. Kankyo Hoken Report (Environmental Health Report) 36, 62–65 (1976) [in Japanese]
Nomiyama, K. Nomiyama, H.: Biological half time of cadium in rabbits. Jap. J. Hyg. 31, 78 (1976) [in Japanese]
Nomiyama, K., Nomiyama, H., Taguchi, T.: Biological half time of cadmium in mice. Jap. J. Hyg. 32, 128 (1977) [in Japanese]
Prickett, C. S., Laug, E. P., Kunze, F. M.: Distribution of mercury in rats following oral and intravenous adminstration of mercuric acetate and phenylmercuric acetate. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 73, 585–588 (1950)
Rabinowitz, M. B., Wetherill, G. W.: Lead metabolism in the normal human: Stable isotopes studies. Science 182, 725–727 (1973)
Rahola, T., Aaran, R.K., Miettinen, J. K.: Half-time studies of mercury and cadmium by whole body counting. I.A.E.A. Symposium on the Assessment of Radioactive organ and body burdens, Stockholm, November 22–26, 1971 (in Assessment of Radioactive Contamination in Man, I.A.E.A., Vienna, 1972, p. 553)
Section of Nutrition, Bureau of Public Health, Ministry of Health and Welfare: Newly adopted nutritional requirement of the Japanese, Toyko: Daiichi Shuppan Book Co. 1961 [in Japanese]
Sudo, Y., Nomiyama, K.: Long-term observations on urinary cadmium excretion of a former cadmium worker. Jap. J. Ind. Hlth. 14, 117–122 (1972) [in Japanese with English summary]
Sumino, K., Hayakawa, K., Shibata, T., Kitamura, S.: Heavy metals in normal Japanese tissues. Arch. Environ. Hlth. 30, 487–494 (1975)
Takabatake, E., Shigematsu, I., Kuzuhara, Y.: Cadmium concentration of grains and noodle in old ages (personal communication)
Teisinger, J., Přerovská, I., Šedivec, V., Flek, J., Roth, Z.: Attempt on determination of biologically active lead in organism in experimental poisoning. Int. Arch. Gewerbepath. Gewerbehyg. 25, 240–255 (1969)
Tsuchiya, K., Sugita, M.: A mathematical model for deriving the biological half-life of a chemical. Nord. Hyg. Tidskr. 53, 105–110 (1971)
Tsuchiya, K., Uchiyama, G., Sugita, M.; Yasuda, K.: Total mercury concentration in cerebrum, cerebellem, hair and urine from “normal” Japanese people. Jap. J. Hyg. 30, 50 (1975) [in Japanese]
Tsuchiya, K., Sugita, M., Seki, Y.: Methematical derivation of the biological half-time of cadmium in human organs based on the accumaltion of the metal in the organs. Keio J. Med. 25, 73–82 (1976)
Tsuchiya, K., Sugita, M.: Some problems and questions in the derivation of biological halftime of a chemical. Kankyo Hokon Report (Environmental Health Report) 36, 70–71 (1976) [in Japanese]
Yamagata, N., Iwashima, K., Nagai, T.: Gastrointestinal absorption of ingested 115mCd by man. Bull. Inst. Publ. Hlth. 24, 1–6 (1975)
Yagyu, H., Ohi, G., Nishigaki, S., Seki, H.: Studies on biological half life of alkyl mercury compounds in rats and mice. Jap. J. Hyg. 30, 55 (1975) [in Japanese]
About this article
Cite this article
Sugita, M. The biological half-time of heavy metals. Int. Arch Occup Environ Heath 41, 25–40 (1978). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00377797
- Biological half-time of heavy metals
- Heavy metal accumulation by age
- Metabolism of heavy metals
- Heavy metals in organs