Metals Exposure Assessment in Nicaraguan Agricultural Workers

Grants and Contracts Details


The Southeast Center for Agricultural Health and Injury Prevention has received requests to support the study of emerging issues concerning chronic diseases associated with toxic metals exposures. This pilot project will involve mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) analysis of 246 toenail samples collected from workers from a sugar cane plantation with a high rate of kidney disease by outside collaborators in Nicaragua. This analysis will allow us to help collaborators compare the chronic metals exposures of diseased patients to healthy patients. The analysis will be performed under the direction of Dr. Jason Unrine. The results of this work will be valuable for determining the potential cause of a nephropathy which as of this date remains unknown. We will prepare and analyze 246 toenail samples for trace-elements by ICP-MS for Al, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, and Hg. A report will be provided to collaborators detailing the methods of analysis and an excel spreadsheet of the results expressed as ug of the element per gram of sample along with sample specific method detection limits. The project involves analysis of non-identifiable samples that have already been collected by non-UK collaborators and thus this pilot project does not require IRB approval. Identifiable information from the subjects will never be known to UK personnel. Toenail samples are not considered a biohazard since they do not contain blood, thus no biosafety protocol is needed.
Effective start/end date9/30/169/29/20


  • National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health


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