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Arquivos de Medicina

On-line version ISSN 2183-2447


LEITE, Ana; SILVA, Ricardo  and  CUNHA, Elisabete. Occupational disease: Medico legal importante. A case report. Arq Med [online]. 2015, vol.29, n.4, pp.93-97. ISSN 2183-2447.

Heavy metals are chemically reactive and bio-accumulative elements which body is unable to eliminate. This feature, combined with its potential toxicity, distinguishes them from other toxic agents. The excess of heavy metals that are naturally part of organisms, such as copper (Cu) or zinc (Zn), or the contact with heavy metals not intrinsic to Man, can have harmful effects, including neoplasia. The contamination by heavy metals is silent and we are daily exposed to it, either by labor occupation, drinking contaminated water or inhalation of toxic fumes. Some metals continue to be used even in oncological medical treatment, dental treatment through amalgam and also in diagnostics, such as imaging. This study aimed to determine both qualitatively and semi-quantitatively the presence of heavy metals in hair samples from a target population. for this study it was used the Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with X-Ray elemental Microanalysis (SEM-XRM), which provides information on the morphology and analyzes qualitatively and semi-quantitatively a given sample. This methodology is a versatile tool for the observation and analysis of micro-structural features. it makes possible to detect, within a mass excess of 0.1-0.3 %, the presence of heavy metals in a sample. in this work, the presence of heavy metals and rare earths was observed in samples, what may indicate that chronic exposure of this population to heavy metals favors inflammatory processes and corresponding oxidative stress, promoting carcinogenesis.

Keywords : scanning electron microscopy coupled with x-ray microanalysis; sem-xrm; heavy metals; occupational diseases; hair.

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