The Effect of Age, Sex, Smoking Habit and Hair Color on the Composition of Hair

Hair samples (N= 83) were collected between the years 1996 and 2003 from inhabitants of Wrocław, a city located in Lower Silesia, south-western Poland (urbanized and industrialized region). The concentrations of 33 elements: Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cu, Zn, P, Fe, Mn, Cr, Se, B, Co, Mo, Si, V, Ni, Be, Hg, Cd, Al, Pb, As, Ba, Au, Pt, Ag, Sr, Sn, Ti, W, Sb and Zr in hair were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) techniques. The effect of age, sex, smoking habits and hair color on the elemental composition of hair was investigated. Also, the obtained results were compared with literature data. It was found that the composition of hair varied with age, sex, hair color and smoking habits. This concerned the majority of elements except Ti, Se, Mn, Ni, Hg, Cd, As, Co (in the case of effect of age), Al, Cd, Co (sex), Cd, K, Ag, Ca, Co, Be (smoking habit), P, Fe, Al, Mn and Cr (hair color). Therefore, reference values for the level of the remaining elements should be normalized according to age, sex, smoking habit and hair color. This would make hair analysis more reliable.

K. Chojnacka, H. Gorecka, H. Gorecki (Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology 22 (2006) 52–57)