Hair trace element analysis in human ecology studies

Concentrations of Zn, Cu, Se, Mn, Hg, Fe, Cr, Co, Sb, SC and Au were determined in hair samples of 17 ethnic and territorial groups from the former USSR. Hair samples (837 males, 965 females) were taken from individuals of non-industrial native populations of unpolluted areas. Geographical, geochemical, racial and nutritional aspects of inter-group variations of trace element concentrations are discussed. The significance of hair analysisa sa biological indicator of abnormal intake of trace elements in man is confirmed. Geographical variations of hair trace element concentrations, on the whole, depend on geochemical conditions or nutritional factors. The concentration of elements in hair is highly variable because of local factors, which makes racial or ethnic identification impossible for trace element analysis.

Valery A. Batzevich (The Science of the Total Environment 164 (1995) 89-98)