Detection of lead nanoparticles in game meat by single particle ICP-MS following use of lead-containing bullets
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This study investigated whether game meat may contain nanoparticles of lead from ammunition. Lead nanoparticles in the range 40 to 750 nm were detected by ICP-MS in single particle mode in game shot with lead-containing bullets. The median diameter of the detected nanoparticles was around 60 nm. The particle mass concentration ranged from 290 to 340 ng/g meat and the particle number concentrations from 27 to 50 million particles/g meat. The size limit of detection strongly depended on the level of dissolved lead and was in the range of 40 to 80 nm. In game meat sampled more than 10 cm away from the wound channel, no lead particles with a diameter larger than 40 nm were detected. In addition to dissolved lead in meat that originated from particulates, the presence of lead nano particles in game meat represents a hitherto unattended source of lead with a largely unknown toxicological impact to humans.
KeywordsLead nanoparticles Single particle ICP-MS Lead ammunition Game Enzymatic digestion
We thank Marianne Hansen for her assistance during the study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Samples were collected from animals already harvested through regular hunting for obtaining game meat and regulating populations. Thus, no ethical permits were needed (Swedish Animal Welfare legislation, 2016).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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