Major Analytical Methods for Determining Lead in Environmental and Biological Samples

  • Jozef SabolEmail author
Part of the Radionuclides and Heavy Metals in the Environment book series (RHME)


Lead (Pb) is an element which is found in nature where out of its known 49 isotopes the most abundant are four: 208Pb (52%), 206Pb (24%), 207Pb (22%) and 204Pb (less than 2%). The increased concentration of lead in the environment is mainly due to some human activities. This includes use of petrol in transport vehicles and releases from industrial and other installations and facilities. From the contaminated environment where soil, water, air, animals and plants always contain certain concentration of lead, the nuclide can find a way into the human organism by inhalation and ingestion. This results in some health effects which, in the case of higher intake, may be extremely poisoning and dangerous. Chronic lead intoxication has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Lead, like many heavy elements, tends to accumulate in bone. Therefore, analysis of the lead presence in environmental and biological samples is an important prevention measure against harmful consequences which must be minimised and in accordance with the set standards and limits. The chapter deals with some specific methods recommended for determining lead in various samples. Special attention is paid to the description of XRF and PIXE methods and especially methods based on atomic spectroscopy, namely absorption and emission spectroscopy as well as atomic fluorescence methods. While the first two methods are essentially considered as non-destructive, the atomic spectroscopy method falls into the category of destructive methods.


Lead (Pb) Health effects Determination Atom absorption spectroscopy Atomic emission spectroscopy Atomic fluorescence spectrometry Environmental samples Biological samples 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Crisis ManagementFaculty of Security Management, PACRPragueCzech Republic

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