Volume 50, Issue 4 (July 2005)
Accumulation of Explosives in Hair
The sorption of explosives (TNT, RDX, PETN, TATP, EGDN) to hair during exposure to their vapors is examined. Three colors of hair were simultaneously exposed to explosive vapor. Following exposure of hair, the sorbed explosive was removed by extraction with acetonitrile and quantified. Results show that sorption of explosives, via vapor diffusion, to black hair is significantly greater than to blond, brown or bleached hair. Furthermore, the rate of sorption is directly related to the vapor density of the explosive: EGDN>TATP⋙TNT⪢PETN>RDX. In some cases, the explosive-containing hair was subject to repeated washings with sodium dodecylsulfate or simply left out in an open area to determine the persistence of the explosive contamination. While explosive is removed from hair with time or washing, some persists. These results indicate that hair can be a useful indicator of explosive exposure/handling.