Analysis of Heavy Metals in Human Scalp Hair Using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Technique


Analysis of six heavy metals (Cr, Mn, Ni, Cu, Zn and Mo) in human scalp hair was carried out among various occupational distributions to ascertain their heavy metal burden, using energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence technique (ED-XRF). The result of the analysis shows that mean concentrations (mg/kg) of heavy metals obtained were as follows: Cr = 17.1 ± 12.7; Mn = 3.11 ± 0.50; Ni = 11.3 ± 9.3; Zn = 451 ± 128; Cu = 83.3 ± 35.8 and Mo is 9.16 ± 9.1.While the mean concentrations of Cr, Cu, and Mo were higher in the females, that of Mn, Ni and Zn were more in the males. Statistical analysis of the results for both genders at 0.05 probably shows significant difference for Ni, Zn and Mo while Cr, Mn and Cu showed no significant difference. The relationships between age, body mass, height, and heavy metal concentrations were also investigated. Statistical analysis of the results indicates that there was no correlation between the body mass (R2 ≤ 0.048), height (R2 ≤ 0.002) and heavy metal concentration in hair. Zn showed the highest deviation among other elements in the individual samples for both genders which reflect the individual variation in the concentration of Zn.

Share and Cite:

Onuwa, P. , Nnamonu, L. , Eneji, I. and Sha’Ato, R. (2012) Analysis of Heavy Metals in Human Scalp Hair Using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Technique. Journal of Analytical Sciences, Methods and Instrumentation, 2, 187-193. doi: 10.4236/jasmi.2012.24029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. E. Kaslow, “Hair Analysis: Cadmium Is Considered a Toxic Heavy Metal with No Known Metabolic Function in the Body,” MD, FACP, FACAAI Physician and Surgeon Board Certified Internal Medicine, Santa Ana, 2011, p. 16.
[2] K. Bencze, “What Contribution Can Be Made to Biological Monitoring by Hair Analysis?” Fresenius’ Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 338, No. 1, 1990, pp. 58-61. doi:10.1007/BF00322786
[3] D. Pozebon, V. L. Dressler and A. J. Curtius, “Hair Analysis: A Review on the Procedures for the Determination of Trace Elements and Applications,” Química Nova, Vol. 22, No. 6, 1999, p. 838. doi:10.1590/S0100-40421999000600011
[4] R. S. Jung, S. R. Yang, J. K. Han, G. H. Kang and G. H. Lee, “Determination of Lead, Cadmium, and Chromium in Hair Optimised by Simplex Method Using Electrothermal Vaporization-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry,” Analytical Sciences, Vol. 17, 2001, pp. 999-1002.
[5] A. Johansen, “Environmental Health: Science, Policy and Social Justice Winter Quarter,” Central Washington University, Ellensburg, 2010.
[6] P. Eck and L. Wilson, “Toxic Metal in Human Health and Disease,’’ Institute of Applied Nutrition and Bioenergetics, Ltd., Phoenix, 1989. Metal Poison Hair Analysis-2.pdf
[7] T. Agusa, T. Kunito, E. Nakashima, T. B. Minh, S. Tanabe, A. Subramanian and P. H. Viet, “Preliminary Studies on Trace Element Contamination in Dumping Sites of Municipal Waste in Indian and Vietnam,” Journal De Physique. IV, Vol. 107, No. 1, 2003, pp. 21-24.
[8] A. Sukumar and R. Subramanian, “Elements in Hair and Nails of Residents from a Village Adjacent to New Delhi: Influence of Place of Occupation and Smoking Habits,” Biological Trace Element Research, Vol. 34, No. 1, 1992, pp. 99-105. doi:10.1007/BF02783902
[9] D. A. Bass, D. Hickok, D. Quig and K. Urek, “Trace Element Analysis in Hair: Factor Determining Accuracy, Precision and Reliability,” Alternative Medicine Review, Vol. 6, No. 5, 2001, pp. 472-481.
[10] K. Jauharah, W. Husin, H. Imam, I. Norddin and A. A. Mohd, “Heavy Metals in Human Hair,” International Journal of Physical Sciences, Vol. 6, No. 8, 2011, pp. 2090-2094.
[11] P. C. D. Lemos, H. M. Dung, C. Dong Vu, N. Thi Sy and N. M. Sinh, “Analysis of Angolan Human Hair Samples by the Ko-NAA Technique on the Dalat Research Reactor: The Study and Application on the Ko-Standardization Method of Neutron Activation Analysis at Dalat Nuclear Reasrch Institute (NRI), Vietnam,” Proceedings of the 5th Asian Workshop on Utilization Research Reactors, Jabkarta, 2005.
[12] S. J. Steindel and P. J. Howanitz, “Uncertainty of Hair Analysis for Trace Metals,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 285, No. 1, 2001, pp. 83-85. doi:10.1001/jama.285.1.83
[13] H. I. Afridi, T. G. Kazi, M. K. Jamali, G. H. Kazi, M. B. Arain, N. Jalbani and G. Q. Shar, “Analysis of Heavy Metals in Scalp Hair Samples of Hypertensive Patients by Conventional and Microwave Digestion Methods,” Spectroscopy Letters, Vol. 39, No. 2, 2006, pp. 203-214. doi:10.1080/00387010500531266
[14] “European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (EMEA): Evaluation of Medecine for Human Use,” London, 2002, p. 24. report.pdf
[15] M. Wilhem, F. K. Ohnesorge, I. Lombeck and D. Hafner, “Uptake of Aluminium, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, and Zinc by Human Scalp Hair and Elution of the Adsorbed Metals,” Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 13, No. 1, 1989, pp. 17-21.
[16] C. Jurado, P. Kintz, M. Menendez and M. Repetto, “Influence of the Cosmetic Treatment of Hair on Drug Testing,” International Journal of Legal Medicine, Vol. 110, No. 3, 1997, pp. 159-163. doi:10.1007/s004140050056
[17] J. Andreji, I. Stranai, P. Massanyi and M. Valent, “Concentration of Selected Metals in Muscle of Various Fish Species,” Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, Vol. 40, No. 4, 2005, pp. 899-912.
[18] M. B. Mokhtar, “Assessment Level of Heavy Metals in Penaeus monodon and Oreochromis spp in Selected Aquaculture Ponds of High Densities Development Area,” Journal of Scientific Research, Vol. 30, No. 3, 2009, pp. 348-360.
[19] I. S. Eneji, R. Sha’Ato and P. A. Annune, “Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Fish (Tilapia zilli and Clarias gariepinus) Organs from River Benue, North-Central Nigeria,” Pakistan Journal of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, Vol. 12, No. 1-2, 2011, pp. 25-31.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.