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Zirconium (Zr)

Zirconium is a very hard, malleable, ductile, shiny silver-gray metal. Its chemical and physical properties are similar to those of Titanium. Zirconium is highly resistant to heat and corrosion. Zirconium is lighter than steel, and its hardness is similar to copper's. Zirconium does not dissolve in acids and alkalis.

Zirconium applications

Zirconium is used in alloys for nuclear applications, as it does not readily absorb neutrons. It is also used in catalytic converters, capsules, and firebricks. The main end-uses of Zirconium oxide are manufacturing refractory materials, ceramics, foundries, and natural gemstones. The metal has many other uses, including in photo flash, surgical instruments, glass for televisions, electronic vacuum tubes, and as a curing agent in alloys, mainly in iron, steel, and even in the paper and packaging industries.

Zirconium compounds have many biomedical applications, including dental implants in artificial knee and hip joints and other prosthetic and restorative devices. Zirconium binds urea, a property widely used in dialysis machines.

Impact of Zirconium on human health

Although Zirconium has no known biological role, the human body contains 250 mg of Zirconium. The daily intake is approximately 4 mg (3.5 mg from food and 0.5 mg from water), depending on dietary habits. Most Zirconium passes through the intestine without being absorbed, while what is absorbed chiefly accumulates in the bones relative to other tissues. Zirconium and its salts generally have low systemic toxicity.

While aquatic plants rapidly uptake soluble Zirconium compounds, terrestrial plants show little tendency to absorb them.

How can one determine if one has been exposed to Zirconium?

We can measure zirconium levels in the 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)!



Important Note

Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for diagnosing and monitoring all pathological conditions. Between 70% and 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 solely based on the numerical result of a single analysis. They should be interpreted in relation to each individual case, family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your 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 contact your doctor to ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

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