Journal Published Online: 01 September 1997
Volume 42, Issue 5

Stable Lead Isotopes in Teeth as Indicators of Past Domicile—A Potential New Tool in Forensic Science?



A pilot study using stable lead isotope analyses has shown that permanent and deciduous teeth from Eastern and Southern European subjects have completely different lead isotopic compositions to those of Australian subjects. There are statistically significant differences between groups of teeth from subjects from the former Soviet Union (CIS), the former Yugoslavia, United Kingdom, and Lebanon. The isotopic analyses confirm the stability of lead in enamel but suggest that there is exchange of European lead with Australian lead in dentine amounting to about 1% per year. The isotopic differences in, and exchange of, European lead and Australian lead offer an exciting and powerful tool for forensic identification.

Author Information

Gulson, BL
Graduate School of the Environment, Macquarie University Sydney NSW 2109 and CSIRO/EM, North Ryde, Australia
Jameson, CW
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
Gillings, BR
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Sydney, Westmead Hospital, NSW, Australia
Pages: 5
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Stock #: JFS14208J
ISSN: 0022-1198
DOI: 10.1520/JFS14208J