During a five-year period, the International Atomic Energy Agency supported a Coordinated Research Programme (CRP) to investigate the quantitative relationship between internal body burdens of a number of elements of environmental health significance and their respective concentrations in hair. The use of nuclear-related analytical techniques, such as neutron activation analysis, X-ray fluorescence, particle-induced X-ray emission and radiotracers, was emphasized. One aspect of the CRP focused on studies in man, using autopsy cases, of mineral distribution in five tissues, i.e. liver, kidney, lung, brain and bone in addition to hair, and the elements of primary importance were As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb, Se and Zn. Emphasis was placed on analytical quality assurance. Hair and internal tissue samples were obtained from subjects from Bulgaria, China, the former German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Japan, Norway and Sweden.