The aim of this research was to determine the concentrations of two essential elements (copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn)) and three toxic elements (lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd) and mercury (Hg)) in the hip joint bones of patients from the Chair and Clinic of Orthopaedics and Traumatology at the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin. We examined 111 samples of hip joint bones obtained from patients from north-western Poland who had undergone arthroplasty of the femoral head. In cartilage with the adjacent compact bone, and in spongy bone from the examined patients, the concentrations (medians) determined were placed in the following descending sequence Zn>Pb>Cu>Cd>Hg. The concentrations ranged from 86 mg Zn/kg to 0.0020 mg Hg/kg dw. It was found that the concentration of lead in the cartilage with adjacent compact bone was higher in men than in women. In conclusion, it seems that in addition to routine monitoring of the abiotic environment, it is essential to monitor concentrations of heavy metals having a long-term impact in humans.
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