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J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2000 Apr;14(1):6-13.

Assessment of reference values for elements in human hair of urban schoolboys.

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Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Hair samples of youngsters (3-15 years of age) from several urban areas of Rome were analyzed to determine the content of 19 minor and trace elements with the aim of assessing Reference Values (RVs). Thirteen essential elements were taken into account, Ca, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, P, Se, V and Zn. On the other hand, Al, As, Cd, Pb, Sr and Ti were also evaluated on the basis of their potential toxicity. Procedures were developed for the collection, storage and pre-analytical treatment of samples. Measurements were performed by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. Subgroups were formed according to age and sex. Significant differences were found for certain elements depending on age and sex. This was the case, e.g., for Ca which showed a mean value of 336 mg/kg for males and of 537 mg/kg for females. The sex-dependent pattern for this element was also apparent when the three age subgroups of 3-6, 7-10 and 11-15 years were compared. The overall RVs obtained (mg/kg) are as follows Al, 10.2; As, 0.09; Ca, 450; Cd, 0.23; Co, 0.67; Cr, 0.99; Cu, 22.1; Fe, 19.0; Mg, 28.0; Mn, 0.35; Mo, 0.43; Ni, 1.49; P, 195; Pb, 7.11; Se, 0.77; Sr, 1.20; Ti, 0.79; V, 1.22; and Zn 150.

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