Praseodymium is a soft, supple, silver-yellow metal. It is a member of the Lanthanides team. It reacts slowly with oxygen and when exposed to air forms a green oxide. It reacts quickly with water.
Applications of Praseodymium
An important use of the metal is in alloys used in flints for lighters. Praseodymium's various compounds have different uses: in carbon electrodes for illumination, in infrared glasses, in the creation of high-strength metal used in aircraft engines, and even in home equipment such as color televisions, lamps and energy lamps and in glasses. Praseodymium is one of the most abundant rare earth elements.
Impact of praseodymium on human health
Like all rare metals, praseodymium has low to moderate toxicity. The soluble salts of praseodymium are slightly toxic to ingestion, but the insoluble salts are non-toxic. Praseodymium is a skin and eye irritant.
Praseodymium is particularly dangerous in the workplace due to the fact that it can be inhaled by air and can cause pulmonary embolism, especially during long exposure. Praseodymium can cause damage to the liver when it accumulates in the human body.
Praseodymium has no known biological role.
Environmental impact of praseodymium
Praseodymium is disposed of in the environment in many different places, notably by the oil industry. It can also enter the environment from disposal of household equipment. Praseodymium gradually accumulates in soil and water and eventually results in increased concentrations in humans, animals and soil particles.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to praseodymium?
We can measure praseodymium 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.
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