ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Human Hair as a Biomarker in Assessing Exposure to Toxic Metals
M. I. Szynkowska, A. Pawlaczyk, E. Wojciechowska, S. Sypniewski, T. Paryjczak
 
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Technical University of Łódź, Department of Chemistry, Institute of General and Ecological Chemistry, Żeromskiego 116, 90-924 Łódź, Poland
 
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2009;18(6):1151–1161
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ABSTRACT
This study discusses the content of different elements including toxic metals (Ba, Cd, Pb, Sr) in hair of adult subjects exposed to a wide spectrum of pollutants. Scalp hair samples were collected from inhabitants of the rural outskirts of Gdańsk, located in the north of Poland (from citizens living near a phosphate fertilizer waste disposal place) and from the donors who were employed in two factories in southwestern Poland (coal mine in Zabrze and lead manufacturing company in Oława) characterized as urbanized and highly industrialized areas (exposed groups). The results were compared with an average element composition of the hair of students attending the Technical University of Łódź (control group), people who were assumed not to have any direct contact with these elements, and with literature data. The determination of elements was performed with ICP-MS and ICP-OES methods. A questionnaire involving personal data information about such things as sex, age or smoking habits was completed by the volunteers. Our results revealed significant differences in concentrations of metals for studied groups and suggest that the populations we studied are exposed to toxic metals. The most probable exposure pathways seemed to be workplace and environmental pollution. This work was also undertaken to study inter-element interactions which were analyzed by the evaluation of correlation coefficients between a pair of two metals. But, with a few exceptions, no essential relation has been established.
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