Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 155, Issue 2, pp 209–220 | Cite as

Trace Element Concentration in Hair Samples as an Indicator of Exposure of Population in the Negev, Israel

  • H. SelaEmail author
  • Z. Karpas
  • H. Cohen
  • A. Tal
  • Y. Zeiri


The concentration of the toxic elements Ag, As, Cd, Co, Mn, Mo, Pb, Se, and U and the elements Al, Mg, Cu, Fe, and Zn in human hair samples of population living in the north of the Negev Desert in Israel was determined. The study population consisted of three subgroups: Jewish urban population, Bedouin urban population, and Bedouins living in unrecognized villages (the “dispersion”). The main focus is on the differences between these subgroups in an attempt to explore factors responsible for the variation in trace metal contents in hair samples. The results show that the level of several elements, particularly Ag, Mn, and Pb, in the female Bedouin group significantly differed from the other groups in the study. Exploring the reasons for these differences, we concluded that the lifestyle of those women is the main cause. The female Bedouin subgroup is exposed to heavy metals from kitchen utensils, jewelry, and makeup. Therefore, differences in the heavy metal concentration in the hair samples of this group were attributed to the traditional unique lifestyle and social behavior of the females in the Bedouin society.


Hair analysis Heavy metals Environmental exposure Bedouin Negev Lifestyle 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Sela
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Z. Karpas
    • 1
  • H. Cohen
    • 3
  • A. Tal
    • 4
    • 5
  • Y. Zeiri
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ChemistryNuclear Research CenterBeer-ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Bio-Medical EngineeringBen-Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  3. 3.Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center, The State of Israel Ministry of Health, Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Faculty of Health SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael
  4. 4.Department of PediatricsSoroka University Medical CenterBeer-ShevaIsrael
  5. 5.Faculty of Health SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

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