Detection and comparison of light metals in hair among workers of different industries using Particle Induced X-Ray Emission (PIXE) for forensic casework

Muhammad Saqib Shahzad, Saeeda kalsoom, Javed Iqbal Bajwa, Amina Arif, Muhammad Azmat Ullah Khan


Background: The study was planned to evaluate the deposition of some metals in the scalp hair of the people working in the particular environment. Scalp hair samples were collected from different industry workers including pharmaceutical, textile and paint industry and analyzed for the determination of aluminum (Al), calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and sulfur (S). Hair analysis provides a better assessment of light metals present in the surroundings, as well as monitoring of variation of metals from place to place.

Methods: The hair samples were collected from 21-55 years old employees working in industry for more than four years. Workers of the age less than 20 years and less than 4 years working experience were not including in this study. Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) system was used to detect the light metals from hair and probable matches were searched through National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) library.

Results: The metals Al, S, K and Ca concentration was found maximum in the pharmaceutical industry workers. i.e., 575.1 µg/g, 190.7 µg/g, 11.1 µg/g and 9.1 µg/g respectively. The minimum concentration so these metals was found in paint industry workers i.e. 103.7 µg/g, 8.87 µg/g, 2.3 µg/g, and 1.7µg/g respectively.

Conclusion: Light metal concentrations in hair samples showed a significant positive correlation. Our findings can play vital role for health departments and industrial environmental management system (EMS) authorities in policy making and implementation. Taken all together, the workers were facing minor health implications in these industries and need immediate protective measures to remediate the current situation. 

Keywords: Forensic, Scalp Hair Analysis, Particle Induced X-ray Emission

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