Energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis was applied for the analysis of hair. The hair samples were digested in a mixture of nitric and perchloric acid and the heavy metals were precipitated with ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate. The accuracy, precision and recovery of the method for the elements Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn and Pb were evaluated through the analysis of a standard hair sample. The procedure was applied to the analysis of hair from an occupationally exposed group of Sudanese workers and a control group. The hair of the exposed group showed a range of 80–550 ppm Fe, 6–12 ppm Cu, 57–190 ppm Zn and 70–3700 ppm Pb, while that of the control group had a range of 60–310 ppm Fe, 7–22 ppm Cu, 89–170 ppm Zn and 3–17 ppm Pb.