Thulium is an element of the lanthanides group, has a bright silver-gray color, and can be cut with a knife. It is the least abundant of rare earth elements and is easy to process. It oxidizes slowly in the air but is more resistant to oxidation than most rare earth elements. The Thulium that exists in nature consists entirely of the stable isotope 169Tm.
Applications of Thulium
The pure metal and the compounds of Thulium have little commercial use because they are very rare and expensive. Thulium has been used in the manufacture of lasers. When the stable Thulium (169Tm) is bombarded with a nuclear reactor, it can later serve as a source of radiation to portable X-ray devices. It is also used in ceramic magnetic materials, which are used in microwave equipment and in personal dosimeters for measuring radioactive radiation.
Thulium is never found in nature in pure form, but it is present in small quantities in minerals along with other rare earth elements.
Impact of Thulium on human health
There is only a very small amount of Thulium in the human body, but the exact amount is unknown. The highest concentrations of Thulium occur in the liver, kidneys, and bones. Thulium has not yet been determined to have a biological role, but it is believed that small amounts of soluble Thuliums stimulate metabolism. The soluble Thulium salts are considered slightly toxic when taken in large quantities, but insoluble salts are not toxic.
Thulium is not an environmental threat to plants and animals.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to Thulium?
We can measure the levels of Thulium 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. The 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.