Lead, copper, zinc, and magnesium levels in hair of children and young people with some disorders of the osteomuscular articular system.Biol Trace Elem Res 2002; 89(2):111-25BT
The lead, copper, zinc, and magnesium contents of scalp hair taken from 173 children aged 1-15 yr and young people (16-18 yr) with certain disorders of the osteomuscular articular system (osteomuscular pains of unknown origin, once described as "growing pains") were measured, using the flame atomic absorption spectrometry method, and then compared with those of 108 normal, healthy children. The research showed increased average levels of lead (a statistically significant p<0.05 in both the overall group of children, and in those over 11 yr old), and zinc (increased in the total group, in a statistically significant way at p<0.10 only in adolescents over 15 yr old) and decreased levels of copper (although not significantly) in the hair of children suffering from "rheumatic" diseases, as compared with controls. The magnesium levels for the total group of ill children were admittedly enhanced, but in the youngest children, the levels were reduced. The values of the Mg/Pb and Mg/Zn ratios were lower (in the youngest children, 70% decrease of the Mg/Pb ratio) and Zn/Cu were higher in the group of children suffering from rheumatic diseases than in the healthy children. The difference of Mg/Pb ratio between the total controls and rheumatic subjects was statistically significant at p<0.05 and the Zn/Cu at p<0.10. The Mg/Zn ratio was not statistically significant.