Use of human hair as a biomarker in the assessment of exposure to pollutants in occupational and environmental settings

Toxicology. 1995 Jul 26;101(1-2):29-39. doi: 10.1016/0300-483x(95)03018-b.


The use of human hair analysis technique is far from being the universal tool for monitoring exposures to environmental pollutants and considering the broad spectrum of pollutants encountered in the general environment one can hardly expect that such a screening tool would ever exist. However, for a majority of toxic trace metals this technique has proved to be a well-suited biological marker of occupational and environmental exposure of man. One of the essential conditions for ensuring the realistic evaluation of excessive population exposure is the examination of sufficiently large population groups and the use of group diagnostics methodology in environmental epidemiology studies. The method of hair analysis appears to be ideally suited for use in pilot prospective studies. If an excessive exposure is detected it is recommendable that the epidemiological examination be completed by analyses of other biological materials, most often blood and urine, in order to obtain a closer specification of the degree of exposure in the respective population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Child
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Pollutants*
  • Hair / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure*


  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental Pollutants