Robotham, H.; Wong, Michael S.; Thompson, C.; Golden, Michael H.
Author Affiliation, Ana.
Centre for Nuclear Sciences
The identification of geophagia by neutron activation analysis
Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, Articles
Date of Publication
Chemical markers for use as indicators of geophagia in Jamaica is reported. Five volunteers each ingested 10g of each of three common soils of Jamaica to which carmine (an inert gastrointestinal dye) had been added. A pre-ingestion faecal sample and all post-ingestion faecal samples were collected until no more carmine was seen. The faecal and soil samples were analysed by instrumental neutron activation analysis. Of the 14 elements quantified, Dy, Eu, Ce, Hf and Th were consistently detected in the post-ingestion but not in the pre-ingestion faecals. These elements should therefore be excellent markers of geophagia as they are present in insignificant levels in food compared to soils. Because of high sensitivity and short throughput times, Dy and Eu appear to be the most promising elements for the detection fo the occurence of geophagia.....