Factors Affecting the Trace-Metal Content of Human Hair

Both present-day and historical head.air samples up to 300 yeats old ate being analysed by neutron activation for more than 80 trace elements. This study, designed to determine an historical base-line for the human intake of trace metals and to provide an evaluation of the present-day rate of increase and sources of environmental pollution, has direct forensic applicability. Modem samples being analysed in this study include hair from U. S. NavalAeademy midshipmen and U.S. Air Force Academy ~eadets obtained upon arrival at the Academies in mid-1971 and again at later intervals during which trace-metal equilibration due to fixed diets and environmental conditions is presumed to occur. A wide variety of factors such as age, sex, hair structure and color, geographic location, general diet, socioeconomic status are being considered in evaluating the analysis data. Examples of some of the initial data obtained from the analysis of the first three sets of Naval Academy midshipmen hair are presented.

A. Gordus (Journal of Radioanalytieal Chemistry, VoL 15 (1973) 229-243)