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Environ Res. 1989 Feb;48(1):17-28.

Age dependence of metals in hair in a selected U.S. population.

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  • 1Division of Environmental Health Laboratory Sciences, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.


Concentrations of 28 metals were determined in hair samples from 199 children (age less than or equal to 12 years) and 322 adults (age 13-73) years. Levels of calcium, barium, magnesium zinc, and strontium all show a similar age-dependent increase up to about 12-14 years; levels of aluminum show a decrease with age. Relationships of elemental concentrations with age were examined by using correlation, linear regression, t tests, and discriminant analysis. Statistically significant differences in mean concentration values between children and adults were shown for these metals. Discriminant analysis gave about 95% accuracy in classifying a test data set into the categories of children and adults. A hypothesis suggested by the data is that there is an age-dependent excretion in hair of alkali metals during skeletal growth and development. The observed decrease in aluminum is largely unexplained at this time.

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