Gender as a key factor in trace metal and metalloid content of human scalp hair. A multi-site study

Daniela Varrica, Gaetano Dongarra', Elisa Tamburo, Tamburo E., Dongarrà G., Varrica D.

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

41 Citazioni (Scopus)


This multi-site study discusses the content of metals and metalloids (MM) in scalp hair of children, living in different environmental contexts, with the purpose of verifying if hair level of some MM is distinctively gender-specific. A total of 943 hair samples (537 females and 406 males) from adolescents were analysed for their content of Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, Rb, Sb, Se, Sr, U, V and Zn. Elemental quantification was performed by ICP-MS. The obtained data identified different metal distributions in adolescent girls which exhibited significantly higher hair concentrations of some trace metals, especially Sr, Zn and Ni, than boys. On the base of the median value, hair of female donors contained 3.8 times more Sr (6.6μg/g) than males (1.7μg/g). Highest concentrations of Zn in females were observed in samples from the mining area of Sardinia (587μg/g). Nickel showed significant differences resulting 2.5-fold higher in female hair. Regardless of the residence site, these elements resulted always significantly different (at p<0.01) between female and male indicating that gender is a confounding factor that has to be more extensively considered for a correct interpretation of metal profiles in human hair.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)996-1002
Numero di pagine7
RivistaScience of the Total Environment
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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  • ???subjectarea.asjc.2300.2311???
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