Pure metallic lutetium has only been isolated in recent years and is one of the most difficult metals to isolate and purify. The metal is white-silver and relatively stable in the air.
Lutetium is very expensive to recover and therefore has very little commercial use.
It is found in small quantities along with other rare earth metals and is very difficult to separate.
The effects of lutetium on human health
As with other rare earth metals, lutetium has no known biological role, but it is found in the body mainly in the bones and to a lesser extent in the liver and kidneys. Estimates show that the average person consumes several micrograms of lutetium per year, all derived from the quantities found in plant-derived foods.
Lutetium is slightly toxic on ingestion, but its insoluble salts are non-toxic. Like other rare earth metals, lutetium is considered to be of low toxicity but its compounds should be handled with care.
Lutetium does not appear to pose an environmental threat to plants and animals.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to lutetium?
We can measure lutetium levels in blood and most biological materials.
Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled 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.