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J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng. 2014;49(13):1578-87. doi: 10.1080/10934529.2014.938535.

Efficacy of hair analysis for monitoring exposure to uranium: a mini-review.

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a National Institute of Public Health , Koper , Republic of Slovenia.


In spite of the ease with which samples may be collected and the stability of the samples after collection, the use of hair mineral analysis for monitoring environmental exposures and evaluating heavy metal poisonings has remained controversial since its initial applications for these purposes in the early 1950s. Among the major arguments against using hair mineral analysis in general were the absence of biokinetic models and/or metabolic data that adequately described the incorporation of trace elements into the hair, the absence of correlations between the concentrations of trace elements in the hair and their concentrations in other tissues, the inability to distinguish between trace elements that were deposited in the hair endogenously and those that were deposited on the hair exogenously, the absence of reliable reference ranges for interpreting the results of hair mineral analysis and a lack of standard procedures for the collecting, preparing and analyzing the hair samples. The developments of the past two decades addressing these objections are reviewed here, and arguments supporting the use of hair analysis for monitoring environmental and/or occupational exposures to uranium are made on the basis of the information presented in this review.


Hair analysis; uranium exposure monitoring; uranium in hair

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