Urinary palladium (Pd) provides an indication of recent or ongoing exposure to the metal, and endogenous detoxification to a lesser extent.
As one of the rarest elements in the earth’s crust, Pd is a precious metal associated with the platinum-group metals. The chemical and physical properties of Pd account for its widespread use in catalytic and automobile related industrial applications, electronic devices, dental applications, and fine jewelry (white gold). Currently Pd is used in the manufacture of the tiny multi-layer ceramic capacitors used in wide-screen television screens, computers and mobile phones.
A significant increase in the industrial use of Pd has resulted in higher environmental levels of this metal, particularly in road dust, airborne microparticles, soil, and groundwater.
Elemental Pd from food and water is generally regarded as having low toxicity as it is poorly absorbed when ingested. However, respiratory exposures to Pd can cause acute toxicity or hypersensitivity with respiratory symptoms and urticaria. This effect on the immune system represents a health hazard.
Observational studies suggest that Pd ions are one of the most common reactive sensitizers. Allergic contact dermatitis may be associated with Pd, and the main contact sources are jewelry and dental materials (alloyed with silver, gold, and copper).
Very low doses are sufficient to cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.
Exposure to Pd over the past 2-4 months may be assessed with the Hair Toxic Element Exposure Profile.
Chelation may acutely increase urinary Pd excretion.
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