The aim of this study is to compare the content of heavy metals in the hair of people inhabiting three areas with different degree of pollution. 69 hair samples from three cities from three countries were selected for the analysis, that is, Ljubljana (Slovenia), Mali Lošinj (Croatia) and Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Environmental factors, biological factors (gender and age), smoking status and hair coloring were examined in relation to heavy metals content in the hair.
The procedure consists of following steps: sample collections and storage, washing, drying, digestion and measurement. The choice of the most appropriate method is based on the previous literature review and preliminary laboratory tests. In order to perform multi-element analysis and due to low limit of detection, sample solutions were analysed by means of ICP-MS and ICP-OES methods. Before the measurement of real samples, linearity, sensitivity, limit of detection and quantification, accuracy and precision were determined for both method and instrument.
Statistical analysis were carried out using SPSS statistical software. The impact of biologic factors on the concentrations of macro elements such as Ca and Mg in the hair was detected. Compared to the sample of non-colored hair, the concentrations of Na, Mg, Ni, Sr and Pb were greater in the sample of colored hair. The differences in the concentration of heavy metals in hair between three different areas were not large enough to indicate the impact of environmental pollution on heavy metals in the hair of the study sample.