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Forensic Sci Int. 2004 Oct 29;145(2-3):195-9.

Progress in pesticide and POPs hair analysis for the assessment of exposure.

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Department of Medicine, Centre of Toxicological Sciences and Research, School of Health Sciences, University of Crete, Voutes Heraklion, 71409 Crete, Greece.


The present paper reviews the work that has been done in the field of pesticide and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) hair analysis during the last 15 years. It summarizes the compounds of interest, the methods of analyte extraction from the hair matrix, the analytical techniques employed and the results obtained. The most widely studied POPs are the polychlorinated dibenzodioxins (PCDDs), the dibenzofurans (PCDFs) the co-planar biphenyls (co-PCBs) and total biphenyls (PCBs). The most widely studied pesticides are the organochlorine ones, like the hexachlorocyclohexanes and the DDTs, which nowadays are only found as environmental pollutants, some organophosphates, selected pyrethroids and the carbamate methomyl. The most widely applied technique was gas chromatography (GC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS). Other detectors like the ECD in the case of organochlorine analysis and the NPD in the case of organophosphate analysis were also used. The presented data concern human and animal studies. The levels of DDTs detected in hair were between 19 and 400 ng/g, of co-PCBs 0.27 and 0.45 ng/g, of total PCBs 5-13 ng/g of PCDDs and PCDFs 0.1-10 pg/g of lindane 20-400 ng/g of HCHs 14-40 ng/g of diazinon 110-520 ng/g and of methomyl 900-1800 ng/g. These results strongly support the possibility of using hair as a suitable indicator for the assessment of long-term exposure to POPs and pesticides.

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