Trace Element Levels in Scalp Hair from Adolescents in Río Negro, Argentina

by Linn Johansson

Institution: Linnæus University
Year: 2011
Keywords: environment; ICP-MS; scalp hair; adolescents; water; trace elements; Natural Sciences; Chemical Sciences; Naturvetenskap; Kemi; MEDICINE; Chemistry; MEDICIN; Kemi; fysik/kemi/matematik; Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics; Kemi; Chemistry
Record ID: 1362602
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-16048


This study provides an insight into a provincial region of a developing country, namely Río Negro, Argentina and possible links between diet, environmental factors (especially water quality) and human health. Measuring levels of trace elements in scalp hair is a known method for assessing nutritional status. Levels of Ca, Fe, Mg, K, Na, As, Cr, Co, Cu, I, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, V, Zn, Al, Cd, Pb, Rb and Hg in scalp hair from adolescents of the age 14 to 18 years in a rural and an urban population of Río Negro were analysed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS). The hypothesis is that levels of trace elements reflect lifestyle factors such as smoking, beverage and food selection and consumption patterns and are directly linked to dehydration and could be associated with future health problems. Furthermore, environmental factors, such as (i) indecent water systems and governmental subsidised food in the rural/urban population, and (ii) ingestion or inhalation of arsenic (from naturally high sources of water, dust and foodstuffs) may also be linked to present and future health problems. The relationship between environmental and dietary factors could be implicated with the onset of diseases such as diabetes type II, obesity or hypothyroidism. The results show that both study populations in the region are exposed to several trace elements in exceedingly high amounts such as As and Mn through tap water which may induce cancers. Also, regular soft drink consumption is associated with low Cr level in this population. Evidence was not obtained for assessing potential dehydration. In terms of understanding the relationship between these factors, methods for assessing dehydration and dietary consumption need to be perfected, and other demographic issues and methods for quantifying obesity and health status will require further research.