Distribution characteristics and influencing factors of heavy metals in scalp hair of Huainan urban residents

Environ Monit Assess. 2019 Jun 16;191(7):443. doi: 10.1007/s10661-019-7592-z.


In order to explore the level of heavy metal pollution in human hair of residents in Huainan City and provide theoretical guidance for prevention and control of heavy metal pollution, human hair samples from 174 residents in Huainan City were collected so that heavy metal (Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, As, and Fe) concentrations in scalp hair could be tested, and meanwhile their relationship with sex, age, and spatial distribution characteristics could be explored as well. According to the final analysis, the average concentration of Cr, Pb, Cu, Fe, Zn, and As in human hair amounted to 1.56, 6.41, 14.96, 31.13, 166.54, and 1.07 mg/kg. The highest average of Cr and Pb contents in human hair occurred in the area of Xiejiaji District; Fe, Zn, and Hg were in Datong District; and Cu and As were in Panji District respectively. Overall, the lowest risk of heavy metal exposure existed in Tianjia'an District. Heavy metal content in hair varied across sexes and ages. Pb concentration in hair would decrease as age increased. The highest Pb concentration appeared in children between ages 0 and 10, the amount of which was significantly different from that in other age groups; hence, children appear to be more susceptible to Pb pollution than other ages. Contents of Cr, Fe, Zn, and As in hair would also increase with age; Fe content in hair was particularly correlated with age. The contents of Cr, Pb, Fe, and As in men's hair were higher than those in women's, whereas the case of Cu and Zn was just the opposite. There were significant differences between sexes concerning the contents of Cr, Cu, and As, and a highly significant difference about Zn between sexes as well. These results indicated that the contents of heavy metal in residents' hair would be closely related to the features of the local environment and population.

Keywords: Age; Distribution characteristics; Heavy metal; Human scalp hair; Sex.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Environmental Pollution / analysis*
  • Female
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Scalp
  • Urban Population


  • Metals, Heavy