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January 3, 2001

The Uncertainty of Hair Analysis for Trace Metals

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Laboratory Practice Assessment Branch, Division of Laboratory Systems, Public Health Practice Program Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Chamblee, Ga (Dr Steindel) and Department of Pathology, University Hospital, State University of New York, Health Science Center at Brooklyn, Brooklyn (Dr Howanitz).

JAMA. 2001;285(1):83-85. doi:10.1001/jama.285.1.83

In 1985, an article by Barrett1 published in THE JOURNAL addressed several issues related to the use of trace metal hair analysis for assessing nutritional status. Now, in this issue of THE JOURNAL, Seidel and colleagues2 show that many of same concerns raised 15 years ago by Barrett's study remain unresolved. Both studies used a self-prepared split sample that was sent to several laboratories specializing in trace metal analysis of human hair. Both noted the divergence of results obtained and the health-related claims made. Seidel et al also commented on the current regulatory environment that hair analysis laboratories now face.

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