Trace Elements in Human Fingernail and Hair from Exposure to Dust

Mansour Ahmadi Foroushani 3 ,1, Eva Lehndorff2, Christian Opp1, Michael Groll1
1Philipp University, Marburg, Germany, 2Universitšt Bonn, Bonn, Germany, 3IOPTC, Tehran, Iran

Fingernail and hair are capable to be quantitive indicators of elements deposition in our body. Result from present study shows that assorted elements level conditionally depends on dust deposition and duration of exposure. Although fingernail and hair are metabolically dead parts, the roots are influenced by the health condition of individual. So, trace element analyses in finger nail and hair can be used as kind of perfect tool, correlated as a biomarker aim to monitor environmental exposure to dust and deposition. Relevant signals from both results also judge whether they should be used as a biomarker to Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Se and As exposure, in order to find the similarity between common signatures from major elements in dust and quantitive ratio of the same elements in fingernail and hair.All human fingernail and hair samples (n = 60) were collected from the people who are living in the dust affected area of southwestern (n=20), two major cities of Iran (n=20) including Iranian abroad who have migrated into Europe (n=20) and a few German colleagues ( n=10).
Due to the very low concentration of some trace elements, measurements were carried out by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP MS).To prevent the effect of different washing procedures, solid sample of hair and nail is prepared with acetone and water based on a procedure recommended by IAEA. The certain amounts of nail and hair samples were weighed carefully and prepared for digestion. The trace elements amount of each samples were measured since 2014 by ICP-MS instrument.
Although both fingernail and hair correlate as a biomarker, the elements levels in fingernail seems to be more correlated with the same signal from dust. The obtained results proved that nail samples can be the best biological biomarker for trace element analysis especially in case of Fe, Zn, Mn, Mg, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb, Se and As due to the high accumulation of these elements in nail which causes a better detection.
Finally, there is a general need to develop biomarkers of environmental exposure. In this study, I have presented a method for trace-element analysis along human hair and finger nail. Result, provide important information about exposure to dust, dust deposition, time and place.