Palladium together with rhodium, ruthenium, osmium, iridium and platinum form a group of elements referred to as the platinum group metals (PGM). Palladium is a bright silver-white metal. It has a cubic crystalline structure and at normal temperatures is particularly resistant to corrosion in the air and the action of acids. It forms many compounds and various salts. Palladium has great ability to absorb hydrogen (up to 900 times its volume).
Applications of Palladium
Due to its corrosion resistance, a major use of palladium is in alloys used in electrical contacts. When granular, palladium forms a good catalyst and is used to accelerate hydrogenation and dehydrogenation reactions. Palladium is widely used in jewelry and some alloys called "white gold". Sometimes it replaces platinum. It is used in watchmaking, springs and scientific instruments. By the 1990s most catalytic converters used platinum to reduce emissions from automobile exhausts, however palladium has now become the main catalyst component, because it is more effective in removing unburnt and partially burned hydrocarbons from fuel.
Palladium is now increasingly used in electrical appliances, such as widescreen televisions, computers and mobile phones.
Palladium is also used in dentistry in silver, gold and copper alloys.
Impact of palladium on human health
Palladium is considered to be of low toxicity and is not easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract when ingested. It can cause skin irritation and sensitization, eye irritation and respiratory tract. As a liquid it can cause burns on the skin and eyes.
Palladium compounds are relatively rare in most people. All palladium compounds should be considered as highly toxic and carcinogenic. Palladium chloride is toxic, harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It causes damage to bone marrow, liver and kidneys in experimental animals. Previously, palladium chloride was prescribed as a cure for tuberculosis, 0.065 g per day.
Palladium has little impact on the environment. It is found in low levels in some soils while the leaves of the trees have been found to contain 0.4 ppm palladium.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to palladium?
We can measure palladium levels in blood and most biological materials.
Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.