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  • 1 Nuclear Research Institute Baghdad (Iraq)
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Several hundred samples of human head hair were analyzed to establish the range and variation of mercury concentration in “normal” people and in persons ingesting organic mercury compounds. Instrumental neutron activation analysis was used. The 77 keV line of197Hg was counted on a Ge(Li) detector. The pattern of concentration variation along hair was shown to be a more reliable criterion for hair individualization than average concentration values. The hair mercury contents of “normal” people in uncontaminated areas were 0.1–4 and 1–12 ppm, respectively. People who had ingested a mercury compound but showed no symptoms had hair mercury concentrations of from a few ppm to 300 ppm. Mild symptoms appeared with a 120–600 ppm hair mercury level, moderate with 200–800 ppm, and severe with 400–1600 ppm. There was no correlation with sex or age, except that infants showed more severe symptoms than expected, and people over 55 had mild or no symptoms with hair mercury levels of 1000 ppm and higher.

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Journal of Radionalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Language English
Size A4
Year of
per Year
per Year
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 0236-5731 (Print)
ISSN 1588-2780 (Online)