AJAC  Vol.4 No.7 , July 2013
Use of Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Multivariate Analysis for the Determination of Trace Elements in Human Scalp

The analysis of trace elements in human hair for use as biomarkers continues to generate considerable interest in environmental and bioanalytical studies, medical diagnostics, and forensic science. This study investigated the concentrations of essential and toxic elements (Fe, Mg, Ca, Cu, Zn, Cr, Cd, and Pb) using flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) in human scalp hair obtained from subjects living in Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA. The influence of age, sex, race, and smoking habits on the levels of trace elements in the hair samples were also investigated. Additionally, analyses were subjected to a statistical, regression, and principal component analysis to evaluate inter-elemental association and possible pattern recognition in hair samples. Furthermore, Ca/Mg and Zn/Cu ratios, which are often used to evaluate the degree of Ca and Cu utilization in humans and as markers for various health related issues including, atherosclerosis, hypertension, insulin sensitivity, and pancreatic cancer, were calculated. The overall mean concentrations of Fe (25 μg/g), Ca (710 μg/g), Mg (120 μg/g), Zn (190 μg/g), Cu (12 μg/g), and Cr (0.20 μg/g) were found in hair samples. The trace element concentrations varied widely in hair samples as demonstrated by large range of concentrations obtained for each element. However, levels of Cd and Pb elements of <0.030 μg/g were detected in hair sample. In general, the levels of the trace elements in hair samples were poorly correlated. However, significant correlations were found between Ca and Mg (r = 0.840, p = 0.05). The levels of Fe, Ca, Mg, Zn, Cu, and Cr in hair samples and the calculated Ca/Mg and Zn/Cu ratios were found to be largely correlated with age, race, sex, and smoking habits.

Cite this paper: S. Fakayode, S. Owen, D. Pollard and M. Yakubu, "Use of Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and Multivariate Analysis for the Determination of Trace Elements in Human Scalp," American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 4 No. 7, 2013, pp. 348-359. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2013.47044.

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