Lanthanum is a soft, lightweight, ductile, silver-white metal. It is chemically active and one of the most active metals in rare earths: it oxidizes rapidly in the air and reacts with water to form hydroxide. Lanthanum is easily ignited, and its salts are often very insoluble.
Applications of Lanthanum
Lanthanum is one of the rare chemicals that can be found in home appliances, such as color television, fluorescent and energy saving lamps and glasses. All rare chemicals have comparable properties. Lanthanum oxide is used in the manufacture of special optics (infrared glass, cameras and telescope lenses). It is added in small quantities to improve the plasticity and durability of steel. Lanthanum is still used in zeolite catalysts used in petroleum refining.
Lanthanum is rarely found in nature as it is found in very small quantities. The use of lanthanum is increasing due to the fact that it is suitable for the production of catalysts and for use in glassmaking.
Impact of lanthanum on human health
Lanthanum is dangerous mainly in the workplace due to the fact that it can be inhaled in the air. It can cause pulmonary embolism, especially during long-term exposure. Lanthanum can also cause lung cancer when inhaled. Finally, it is a threat to the liver because it accumulates in the human body.
Lanthanum has no known biological role. Lanthanum is absorbed shortly after ingestion. Lanthanum carbonate is given therapeutically to absorb excess phosphate in patients with end-stage renal failure.
While lanthanum has pharmacological effects on various receptors and ion channels, its specificity for the GABA receptor is unique among trivalent cations. Lanthanum acts at the same regulatory point on the GABA receptor as zinc. Lanthanum cation (La3 +) is a positive regulator of GABA receptors, increasing the time the channel remains open and reducing receptor desensitization.
Environmental impacts of lanthanum
Lanthanum is dumped into the environment in many different places, notably by the oil industry. It can also enter the environment from the disposal of household equipment. Lanthanum gradually accumulates in soil and water and eventually results in increased concentrations in humans, animals and soil particles. Lanthanum accumulates significantly in mussels and other seafood.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to Lanthanum?
We can measure lanthanum 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.