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Eur J Pediatr. 1988 Feb;147(2):179-83.

Hair zinc of young children from rural and urban areas in North Rhine-Westphalia, Federal Republic of Germany.

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Universitäts-Kinderklinik, Universität Düsseldorf, Federal Republic of Germany.


Hair zinc levels were estimated by atomic absorption spectrophotometry in 474 children, aged 3-7 years, from 11 kindergartens in a highly industrialized and polluted area (Duisburg) and 8 kindergartens in a rural area of North Rhine-Westphalia. The mean hair zinc level amounted to 118 micrograms/g, increasing between the 4th and 7th year of life. At all ages the values from the urban toddlers were lower than from rural toddlers, and in both regions they were higher in winter than in summer. Children with frequent upper respiratory tract infections (greater than 6 infections/year) showed significantly lower zinc hair values, independent of their age. Low hair zinc values (below 70 micrograms/g) were frequently found, raising the question as to whether this is a normal, age-related phenomenon, or whether it indicates a suboptimal zinc status of young children from North Rhine-Westphalia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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