Elements in Scalp Hair and Nails Indicating Metal Body Burden in Polluted Environment

Heavy metals in biological samples namely hair and nails taken at random were examined in subjects occupationally or otherwise exposed to Pb, Cd, Cu, Mn, Zn, Fe, Ni, Ca, Mg and Cr metals and in controls from subjects working in different environments such as tooth powder manufacturing unit, lead battery unit, locomotive workshop, welding unit and roadways workshop. The significant levels between exposed and unexposed subjects in hair and nails have been computed by student ‘t’ test at p<0.05. The Pearson movement Correlation analysis of the data for these ten elements revealed significant positive correlation between Cr/Ni, Fe/Mn, Fe/Cr, and Ni/Fe in hair of exposed subjects; Cr/Pb, Mn/Cd, Zn/Cd, Zn/Mn, Ni/Pb, Fe/Pb, Cr/Ni, Cr/Fe and Fe/Ni in hair of unexposed subjects; Cr/Cd, Ca/Cd, Ca/Mn, Ca/Cr, Ni/Cd, Ni/Mn, Ni/Cr, Ni/Ca, Fe/Cr, and Ni/Fe in nails of exposed subjects and Cu/Cd, Cr/Cd, Cr/Cu, Zn/Cd, Zn/Cu, Zn/Cr, Ca/Cd, Ca/Cu, Ca/Cr, Ca/Zn, Mg/Cd, Mg/Cu, Mg/Cr, Mg/Ca, Ni/Cd, Ni/Cu, Ni/Cr, Ni/Ca, Ni/Mg, Ni/Zn, Fe/Cr, Fe/Ni and Fe/Cd in nails of unexposed subjects. This behaviour has been explained in context to type of exposure.

Rita Mehra and Meenu Juneja (Journal of Scientific and Industrial Research, Vol. 64, February 2005)