Did you know that where you are from and where you have been can be traced through a single strand of your hair?

According to this study published in the Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry journal in 2009, a team of  Spanish and British scientists  have found a way to trace your travels by testing your hair by using a laser-ablation technique. This technique is able to detect variations in the sulphur isotopes of a single hair strand over time.

During the study, researchers collected hair samples from three volunteers, two of whom were permanent United Kingdom residents while the third had spent the previous 6 months travelling through Croatia, Austria, and Australia.

Results of testing showed that the traveller’s hair strand had considerable variations in the sulfur isotopes while hair strands from the two home-bound U.K. residents had minimal to no changes.

These interesting results could have huge relevance for governmental agencies interested in tracing the lifestyles of international criminals and terror suspects.

I doubt it’s a test that would be applied to ordinary travelers, but if one day, you’re heading through customs and feel a slight tug on your head, it might just be that you’ve suddenly be tagged for a hair test…

(image credit)

 

 

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.