Samarium is a silver-white metal belonging to the lanthanides group. It is relatively stable at room temperature.
Samarium is used as a catalyst in some organic reactions, while various samarium compounds are used in the manufacture of special glasses, electrodes and permanent magnetic material.
It is never found in nature, but it is contained in many minerals.
Impact of samarium on human health
Samarium has no known biological role, but it has been found to stimulate metabolism. The soluble salts of samarium are slightly toxic to ingestion and can cause skin and eye irritation.
The total amount of samarium in the adult body is about 50 µg, mostly found in the liver and kidneys. Samarium is not absorbed by plants in measurable concentrations and is therefore not normally part of the human diet. However, some plants and vegetables may contain up to 1 part per million (1 ppm) of Samarium. When ingested, only about 0.05% of the samarium salts are absorbed into the bloodstream and the remainder excreted. Of the blood, about 45% goes to the liver, 45% is deposited on the bone surface where it remains for about 10 years, and the remaining 10% is excreted.
Samarium does not appear to pose a threat to plants or animals.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to samarium?
We can measure samarium 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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