Through recent vast improvements in technology, instrumentation, and application of scientific protocols, hair element analysis has become a valuable tool in providing dependable and useful data for doctors and their patients. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency stated in a recent report that “… if hair samples are properly collected and cleaned and analyzed by the best analytic methods, using standards and blanks as required, in a clean and reliable laboratory by experience personnel the data [is] reliable.” (U.S.E.P.A. 600/ 4-79-049).
Hair however, is vulnerable to external environmental contamination by means of certain shampoos, bleaches, dyes and curling or straightening treatments. Therefore, the first step in the interpretation of a hair element report is to rule out sources of external contamination.
Hair element analysis is a valuable screen for physiological excess, deficiency or misdistribution of elements.