Trace element concentration in hair samples as an indicator of exposure of population in the Negev, Israel

H. Sela, Z. Karpas, H. Cohen, A. Tal, Y. Zeiri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-220
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • Bedouin
  • Environmental exposure
  • Hair analysis
  • Heavy metals
  • Lifestyle
  • Negev

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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