Arsenic in Hair

This research paper by Prof. Sidney Katz from the Chemistry Faculty of Rutgers University compared the arsenic concentration of scalp hair, blood, urine and drinking water. A clear correlation was found between exposure, absorption and excretion, leaving little doubt that elevated levels of arsenic in the hair can reflect systemic arsenic intoxication. According to the eminent researcher, “hair analysis has potential merit as a screening procedure for poisoning by arsenic.”

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Chronic Metal Exposure, Air Pollution and Cancer in Haifa, Israel

Air pollution is a worldwide problem to millions of people exposed to concentrations of air pollutants above safety standards, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5). In Haifa, Israel, the apparent link between pollution and cancer development is a topic of concern. The study focused on evaluating the metal exposure of children and adults residing in the Haifa area. A high toxic burden to combustion metals such as nickel and potential carcinogens such as mercury was determined. Samples of hair were collected from people living in and around Haifa between 2007 and 2015. Selected patients were separated into three groups, adult males and females, and children with a median age of 6.6 years. Multiple metal exposure was determined in all groups, with the greatest burden found in children.

The paper was published in the British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research 2015 10(6):1-14


Hair calcium, indicator for bone metabolism

Elemental anomalies in hair as indicators of endocrinologic pathologies and deficiencies in calcium and bone metabolism.
Miekeley N, de Fortes Carvalho LM, Porto da Silveira CL,Lima MB.
Department of Chemistry, Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
PMID: 11603827 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Analytical results obtained by ICP-MS of hair samples from a group of women from Rio de Janeiro city show that abnormal Ca and P concentrations in this compartment can be an indication of pathologies affecting the metabolism of these elements. The study was conducted initially on 900 women (outpatients, >40 years). From this group, approx. 24% showed anomalously high or low Ca concentrations in hair, in some cases correlated to anomalies of other elements. In 144 cases (16%), very high concentrations of Ca (up to 8,285 mg/kg) were measured, frequently correlated with a high concentration of P (up to 4,720 mg/kg), exceeding by far the reference intervals for this age/sex group. Follow-up studies of a few individuals from this group gave first indications that their abnormal hair compositions were related to endocrinologic pathologies affecting calcium/bone metabolism. Very low hair Ca-concentrations were observed in older women (72 cases, age >60 years) and related to senile osteoporosis. Complementary investigations of patients with recognized endocrinologic pathologies (hyperthyroidism, hyper- and hypoparathyroidism) and osteomalacia gave statistical support for the hypothesis that hair concentrations of Ca, P and various other trace elements are influenced characteristically by these diseases. In patients with hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both elements showed significant increase in hair, whereas patients with rickets/osteomalacia had only elevated Ca concentrations, together with suspiciously high toxic levels of Cd and various other elements (Fe, Mn, Mg, Sr, Ba). Patients with hypoparathyroidism had significantly decreased Ca and P concentrations in hair. Statistical evaluation of these data by multivariant analysis (MANOVA) using a contrast matrix and by discriminant analysis showed that elemental hair anomalies can be used to diagnose correctly the above-mentioned pathologies, demonstrating the usefulness of hair analysis as a complementary tool for the detection of disturbances in calcium/bone metabolism.