The experts are saying that human hair and nails reveal the toxicity levels of their possessors.
According to the latest research, such chemicals as are to be found in flame retardants are found in abundance beneath human nails and in their hair as well.
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The use of a biomarker could easily point towards the presence of these chemicals in the body parts that are themselves excretions of biology. Such chemicals that are normally found in the environment are present in household dust, the water supply and the air that we breathe in.
When human beings come into contact with flame retardants, they contract such diseases as obesity, brain damage, neurological and genital faults not to mention abnormalities in their endocrine systems.
These chemicals are added to wood, plastics, foams and textiles. Their function is to prevent the objects they are a part of from catching fire.
However, their negative side is that they accumulate in the environment and become trapped in human nails and hair. The new classes of flame retardants are a topic about which there exists scant knowledge at present.
As for the easiest method of testing for these harmful chemicals, scientists have only to look beneath the nails and on the surface of the hair follicles. They get a pretty good idea of the level of these toxins via this screening method.
Up until now, urine, blood and milk samples from humans were the only means of testing for these chemicals. Now though the hair and nails are being added to the tissues worthy of being tested.
The study was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Hair and nails are noninvasive biomarkers to boot. They don’t require complex procedures of intervention by lab specialists.
Most of the flame retardants were labeled as brominated and organophosphate agents. The fingernails and toenails of 50 students were collected for thorough analysis.
A comparison was made between the toxins in these biomarkers with the toxins found in their blood samples. There was a clear link between the presence of polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs in the blood and in the nails and hair of these individuals.
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The females had higher concentrations of these chemicals in their systems. This might be due to the nail polish they regularly apply to their fingernails and toenails. The nail polish also contains these chemicals in abundance. Flame retardant chemicals have been found in the barks of trees as well.