Comparison of some essential and heavy metals in the toenails and fingernails of school-age children in Kenya
Njue, W. M.
Were, Faridah Hussein
Wanjau, R. N.
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This paper describes the determination of the levels of lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), zinc (Zn), calcium (Ca) and iron (Fe) in the toenails and fingernails of children under the age of six years in urban and rural areas in Kenya by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Lead levels in urban areas ranged from 8.0-49.0 μg/g in fingernails and 7.0-62.0 μg/g in toenails as compared to those in rural areas (5.0-36.5 μg/g and 5.5-31.5 μg/g, respectively). A similar trend was observed for Cd where significantly high levels were found in children in urban areas than those in rural areas. The Fe and Zn levels were significantly higher in children in rural areas than those in the urban areas. The levels of all the metals studied were higher in the toenails except for Fe and Ca where the levels were higher in fingernails; however, the difference in the levels was not significant. These results indicate that either the toenails or fingernails can be used as a reference for levels of metals environmental exposure.