Fur, hair, nails, hooves

Hair, fur, nails or hooves provide a record of past exposure to mineral and trace element levels.

Unlike blood, fur, hair, nails and hooves are an inert substance that consists of a fibrous protein and trace elements. As these tissues grow, nutrient and toxic elements are deposited from the blood stream into the follicle, the hair, fur, nail or hooves. Once a trace element has been incorporated, it remains fixed. The metal content of these samples will not change. Reliable testing can be performed years after sampling.

Sample taking is painless, sample shipping is not timely.

The analysis of these samples, especially of animal hair or fur requires meticulous sample preparation, during which the sample is freed from external contaminants. Sample analysis is performed using the same instrumentation and criteria as laboratory diagnostics require for metal testing of blood and urine.

Hair analysis, when properly performed, is a reliable measure of tissue levels. Source: Jenkins DW. Toxic Metals in Mammalian Hair and Nails. EPA Report 600, 1979.