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Korean J Pediatr. 2006 Jan;49(1):18-23. Korean. Original Article.
Kwon JW , Kim BE , Park MJ , Kim SW .
Department of Pediatrics, Sanggye Paik Hospital, Inje University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.

PURPOSE: The reliability of hair mineral analyses regarding nutritional status, environmental exposure or diseases is controversial. The aim of this study was to determine the normal reference range of hair mineral concentration of Korean children. METHODS: We examined hair mineral concentrations of 223 children(3-12 yrs old, 110 boys, 113 girls, mean age 8.8+/-2.2 yrs old) living in the northern area of Seoul. The trace elements including six toxic elements(Al, As, Cd, Ba, Hg, Pb) and 11 nutritional elements(Na, Mg, P, K, Ca, Cr, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Se) were analyzed by inductive coupled plasma mass spectrometry(ICP-MS). RESULTS: The mean concentrations of Ca and Mg were higher in girls than in boys. The mean concentrations of Cd, Pb and Cr were higher in boys than girls. The Zn, Ca, Mg, Cu and Hg levels in hair samples were positively correlated with increasing age. The Zn levels of the Korean children's hair samples appear to be lower than that of other countries' reference values. CONCLUSION: There are considerable differences in hair mineral concentrations by age, sex and race. Additional research is needed to establish Korean reference values, and to evaluate the usefulness of hair mineral analyses as a screening tool for nutrition- and environment-related childhood diseases.

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