The accumulation of organic contaminants in hair with different biological characteristics


Human hair has increasingly been used as a noninvasive biomonitoring matrix for assessment of human exposure to various organic contaminants (OCs). However, the accumulation processes of OCs in hair remains unclear thus far, which raised concerns on the reliability of hair analysis results for OCs. Herein, Chinese population was selected as the study subject, the effects of changes in hair biological characteristics, including length and color, on the accumulation of OCs in hair was investigated. With the growing of hair shaft and the increased distance from the scalp, a significant increasing trend was found for levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organophosphate flame retardants (PFRs) along the hair shafts (p < 0.05). Source identification using Chemical Mass Balance model indicated that PCBs in hair were mainly from exogenous sources (air and dust). The accumulation rates of PCB and PFR individuals in the hair shaft decreased with increasing of log Kow values. Additionally, the levels of OCs in hair decreased with the change in color from black to white, probably because of the loss of melanin in white hair. The ratios (R) of Cblack/Cwhite were significantly correlated with the log Kow values for individual chemicals (p < 0.05), implying that OCs with high log Kow values tend to accumulate more readily in black hair. The results of this study demonstrated the growth and change in colors of hair, as well as the physicochemical properties of chemicals, play vital roles in the accumulation of OCs in hair. The present study provides fundamental basis for the precise assessment of human exposure to OCs using hair as a biomonitoring matrix in future studies.

Authors: Bin Tang, Jing Zheng, Shi-Mao Xiong, Feng-Shan Cai, Min Li, Yan Ma, Bo Gao, Dong-Wei Du, Yun-Jiang Yu, Bi-Xian Mai
; Full Source: Chemosphere 2022 Nov 2;137064. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.137064.