Hair Toxic Element Exposure-Doctor's Data Kit

Note: This is a home collection test kit that will be mailed to you.

Fasting Required: No

Lab: Doctor's Data

Specimen: Hair

Results: 5-7 business days

Note: Result turnaround times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

Special Instructions: The test requires no special diet and you do not need to discontinue taking medications or dietary supplements unless otherwise instructed by your physician. Never discontinue prescription medications without first consulting your physician.

Collect the hair specimen according to the directions on the included scale. Hair that has been permed, dyed, bleached or otherwise chemically treated is vulnerable to contamination and is not recommended for analysis. Do no mix head hair with pubic hair.

Cut samples of hair from back of the head. Using stainless steel scissors, cut hair as close to the scalp as possible. It is best if small amounts of hair are cut from 5 or 6 areas in the back of the head.

As each piece of hair is cut from the head, save only 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the hair closest to the scalp. Cut off and discard the rest. The total weight of hair needed is 0.25 grams.

Description: Tests for 31 Toxic Metals only. It was developed at the request of physicians that had patients with known industrial or environmental exposure to the specific toxic metals.

With respect to its contained elements, hair is essentially an excretory tissue rather than a functional tissue. As protein is synthesized in the hair follicle, elements are incorporated permanently into the hair with no further exchange or equilibration with other tissues. Scalp hair is easy to sample, and because it grows an average of one to two cm per month, it contains a "temporal record" of element metabolism and exposure to toxic elements.

Toxic elements may be 200 to 300 times more highly concentrated in hair than in blood or urine. Therefore, hair is the tissue of choice for detection of recent exposure to elements such as arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, lead, antimony and mercury. The CDC acknowledges the value of hair mercury levels as a maternal and infant marker for exposure to neurotoxic methylmercury from fish.