Trace metal profiles in hair samples from children in urban and rural regions of the United Arab Emirates

M. Y. Hasan, M. Kosanovic, M. A. Fahim, A. Adem, G. Petroianu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Pollution has increased with industrialization and humans are subjected to exposure to heavy metals from different environmental sources. In oil-producing countries heavy metals are considered a major threat to the population. Metals such as lead, aluminum, manganese, nickel and cadmium may impact various organs of the body, and controlling their toxicity is crucial for individuals at risk. Previous studies utilized blood levels for monitoring metal toxicity. The current study was designed to investigate exposure to lead, aluminum, manganese, nickel and cadmium using scalp hair. Hair samples were randomly collected from 42 children (aged 6-18 y) representing rural and urban areas of the United Arab Emirates. The rural regions were defined as at least 50 km away from factories or traffic sites. Immediately after cutting, hairs were stored in plastic bags and attached to a questionnaire with the relevant background information. Samples were dried, weighed and sealed with polyethylene envelopes. Following extraction procedures with nitric acid, ICP-MS was utilized for metals determination. The analytical instrument showed a high degree of sensitivity and revealed significant differences between levels of some metals in hairs from rural and urban areas. Children from rural areas had mean hair lead levels (μg/g) of 0.79 + 0.10 whereas children from urban area had higher hair lead levels (3.47 + 0.47). Measuring metals concentration in scalp hair could be a useful method for studying exposure and assessing environmental pollution. Although the technique has the potential of being an effective tool for evaluating extent of pollution and identifying potentially toxic elements, it cannot yet replace the standard procedures of measuring air, water and soil metal content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-121
Number of pages3
JournalVeterinary and Human Toxicology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • General Veterinary
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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