Hair has been proven to be suitable for non-destructive and non-invasive exposure assessments in human and mammal populations. A previous study with European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) showed that, for some metals, hair and spine metal concentrations were positively correlated to levels in liver, kidney and muscle. Although blood has been studied in a wide variety of species, the relationship between hair and blood metal concentrations has yet to be quantified in many mammalian species. Tissue concentrations from hedgehogs residing in a park with known metal pollution were compared with those from a reference park and correlations between contaminant levels in hair and blood, and spines and blood were studied. Moreover, the relative distribution of arsenic and metals in hair, spines and blood was determined. Elevated concentrations were found in hedgehogs residing in the polluted site for As (8.2 ¿g/g, 6.3 ¿g/g, 3.6 ¿g/ml), Cd (0.48 ¿g/g, 0.17 ¿g/g, 0.02 ¿g/ml) and Pb (7.6 ¿g/g, 7.3 ¿g/g, 54 ¿g/ml), in hair, spines and blood respectively. Positive correlations were identified for exposure levels between hair and blood as well as between spines and blood for three elements (As, Cd, and Pb), whereas a negative correlation was found between Cr concentrations in spines and blood. In conclusion, hair and spines can be used to monitor blood concentrations of some metals, although more data are needed on uptake from the food chain and on the incorporation dynamics of these contaminants.
- pollution exposure assessment
- lead levels