Determination of uranium in human head hair of a Brazilian populational group by epithermal neutron activation analysis
Hair analysis is extensively used in forensic sciences, assessment of occupational or environmental exposure and in some cases also for clinical and nutritional studies. Hair has a series of advantages in relation to other biomonitors, like blood and urine, since it is very easy to collect, very stable at room temperature and it represents not only instantaneous concentrations, but it can reveal the exposure along a given period of time. The assessment of environmental or occupational exposure to uranium is generally done by means of urine analysis, although a few papers have described attempts to use hair as a biomonitor. In the present work, epithermal neutron activation analysis has been used to establish base-line concentrations for a Brazilian populational group, living in Sao Paulo and not exposed to uranium, either environmentally or occupationally. For quality control, the reference materials Pine Needles NIST 1575 and Basalt USGS BCR-1 were used. The concentrations obtained for the control population studied up to now varied from about 2 to 50 ng·g−1.
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