Arsenic speciation in hair extracts

A Raab, J Feldmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Citations (Scopus)


Ingested arsenic is known to be not only excreted by urine, but to be stored in sulphydryl-rich tissue like hair, nail or skin. We developed an extraction method for arsenic species from these tissues and studied the stability of different arsenic species during the extraction process. Inorganic and pentavalent methylated arsenic was found to be stable under the extraction conditions, whereas trivalent methylated arsenicals and the thio-analogue of DMA(V) stop (DMAS) showed reduced stability. The absorption ability of hair for these different species was studied as well. Inorganic arsenic is better absorbed by hair than monomethyl- or dimethyl-arsenicals, whereby the trivalent forms are taken up better than the pentavalent forms. Independent of which methylated arsenical was used for the incubation, the pentavalent form was always the dominant form after extraction. Hair and nail samples from humans suffering from chronic arsenic intoxication contained dominantly inorganic arsenic with small and strongly varying amounts of DMA(V) stop and MA(V) stop present. DMAS was only found in some nail sample extracts containing unusually high amounts of DMA(V) stop and is believed to be formed during the extraction process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-338
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • arsenic speciation
  • sample preparation
  • hair analysis
  • accumulation potential
  • species transformation


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