Comparison of concentrations of toxic elements in the hair of first-year students of RUDN University from different regions of the world: a cross-sectional study

Due to the development of the metallurgical and energy industries and the operation of incinerators, more and more environmental pollution is occurring. Toxic elements accumulate in the biosphere and affect the state of the population of the regions of large-scale production or the disposal of industrial waste. The main goal of this study was to compare the toxic elements hair composition in people from different regions of the world. The concentrations of toxic and potentially toxic elements (Al, As, Be, Cd, Hg, Pb, Sn) in 198 people, first-year students of People’s Friendship University of Russia, who arrived from different regions of the world, were measured with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Students were divided into 6 groups: from South and East Asia, from Latin America, from Arab countries, Central Asia and Afghanistan, from South and Central Africa, from Iran and Azerbaijan, and from Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova. Medians of the concentrations of elements in the hair in the general group were 5.8 μg/g for Al, 30 ng/g for As, 0.6 ng/g for Be, 9.0 ng/g for Cd, 0.11 μg/g for Hg, 0.24 μg/g for Pb, and 0.11 μg/g for Sn. All these values fall within the normal range. Students from Russia, Moldova, and Ukraine showed a significantly higher Sn content (0.28 μg/g) in their hair than subjects from other regions except for Latin America, p<0,05. Except for As, cases of exceeding their recommended concentrations in the hair were identified. However, the proportion of subjects with deviations in each group was not high — not more than 7%. In all regions, a positive correlation was found between Cd, Pb, and Sn, p<0.05, r>0.5 for all. Cases of exceeding the maximum permissible concentrations of various toxic elements in the hair were detected in people from all regions of the Earth included in the study. And although the overall picture of the content of toxic elements in the hair of students from all regions in our study does not look critical, the results of previous studies, as well as information about the total deterioration of the environmental situation throughout the Earth, necessitate further large-scale environmental studies. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Galchenko A.V. 1 , Sidorova E.I.2 , Sherstneva A.A.2 , Skalny A.A. 1 , Lobanova J.N. 1
Springer Science + Business Media
  • 1 Department of Medical Elementology, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Miklukho-Maklay St., 6, Moscow, 117198, Russian Federation
  • 2 Nelyubin Institute of Pharmacy of Federal State Autonomous Educational Institution of Higher Education I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, Sechenov University, Moscow, Russian Federation
Biogeochemistry; Biohazards; Contamination; Ecology; Hair composition; Pollution; Regional features
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