Where can I get more
analysis result is unusually high or low. Because of these
infor mation on how hair
information gaps, doctors and other health professionals
rarely use hair analysis to evaluate health problems. It is
analysis relates to
possible that future research will help us better understand
environmental exposur e?
what hair analysis results mean. Until this research is done,
however, hair analysis results (with few exceptions) will not
provide useful information about possible health problems.
ATSDR recently gathered a group of experts to discuss
what scientists currently know and do not know about
hair analysis. You can get a copy of the report that
With these limitations, why do
summarizes this expert panel meeting by calling
health agencies and other
ATSDR's toll-free telephone number: 1-888-42-ATSDR
groups collect hair samples?
(or 1-888-422-8737). If you have access to the Internet,
the report is available on ATSDR's Web site at
"www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HAC/hair_analysis." We can also
Many public health agencies, including ATSDR, have
send you a more detailed and technical fact sheet that
collected and analyzed hair samples when addressing
summarizes our opinions on the current state of the
community concerns regarding environmental exposure.
science regarding hair analysis.
Before deciding to use hair analysis, ATSDR carefully
considers if the results can be interpreted and will add to
our understanding of potential community exposure. In most
cases, we choose not to collect hair samples because the
results would not help us address health concerns. Given
the limitations of hair analysis, health agencies almost never
base health conclusions entirely on hair analysis results.
Rather, hair analysis results are viewed as just one small
piece of evidence that are considered along with other
What is the bottom line? What
can hair analysis results tell
If an environmental chemical is detected in your hair, the
only defensible conclusion you can draw, with few
exceptions, is that you were exposed to the substance at
For more information,
some point over the last year or so. You will generally not
know the source of the exposure or when it occurred.
contact ATSDR's toll-free
Most importantly, a detection will not tell you if your
exposures might cause health problems.
(888) 42-ATSDR. . .
Remember: For almost every environmental
contaminant, hair analysis results alone will not tell
that's (888) 422-8737
you if you are likely to get sick or will have health
ATSDR's Internet address is http://