Document Type: Original Articles

Authors

1 Research Center for Health Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran;

2 Student’s Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran;

3 Department of Epidemiology, School of Health, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Background: Despite wide application of chromium in electroplating industry, the pulmonary effects of chronic exposure to this chemical have not been extensively studied and are subject of debate and controversy. This study was, therefore, undertaken to further address this issue. Methods: The study population consisted of a group of 15 workers with a history of past and present occupational exposure to chromium mists and 15 unexposed healthy subjects (referent). Subjects were interviewed, respiratory symptom questionnaires were filled out for them, and their parameters of pulmonary function (PFT) were measured during the shift and a few days after exposure ceased. Results: Both groups were similar as to the number of smokers, their length of smoking, and demographic factors such as age, weight and height. Although the unexposed group, on average, were slightly older than their exposed counterparts, statistical analysis of the data revealed that symptoms such as productive cough, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath were significantly (P<0.05) more prevalent among the exposed workers. Furthermore, the parameters of pulmonary function (PFT) of the exposed workers, while at work, were significantly lower than those of referent individuals. Interestingly, PFT of the exposed subjects generally showed some improvement a few days after their exposure ceased. However, despite this relative recovery, the differences of PFT values between the exposed and referent groups, from statistical point of view, remained significant. Conclusion: Our data support the proposition that exposure to chromium mists induces abnormal respiratory symptoms as well as both acute, partially reversible and chronic irreversible lung functional impairments.

Keywords

  1. Agency for toxic substances and disease Rigistry case
  2. studies in Enviromental Medicine (CSEM) chromium
  3. toxicity, December 18, 2008.
  4. World Health Organization. Chromium (Environmental
  5. Health Criteria 61) International Programme on
  6. Chemical Safety. Geneva, Switzerland 1990.
  7. Dayan AD, Paine AJ. Mechanisms of chromium
  8. toxicity, carcinogenicity and allergenicity: review of
  9. the literature from 1985 to 2000. Hum Exp Toxicol
  10. ; 20(9): 439-51.
  11. International Programme on Chemical Safety (IPCS).
  12. Chromium. Environmental Health Criteria 61. WHO.
  13. Agency for toxic substances and disease Registry
  14. (ATSDR). Agency for toxic substances and disease
  15. Registry Toxicological profile for chromium. U.S.
  16. Department of Health and Human services, public
  17. Health services. September 2012.
  18. Zober A. Possible dangers to the respiratory tract from
  19. welding fumer: methods of approach in an industrial
  20. health care context and results. Schweissen Schneiden
  21. ; 34 (2): 77-81.(in German).
  22. Jindrichova J. chromium damage in arc welders. Z
  23. Gesamte Hyg 1978; 24(2): 86-8.(in German).
  24. Keskinen H, Kalliomaki PL, Alanko K. Occupational
  25. asthma due to stainless steel welding fumes. Clin
  26. Allerg 1980; 10: 151-9.
  27. Letterer E, Neidhardt K, Klett H. Chromate lung
  28. cancer and chromate pneumoconiosis. A clinical,
  29. morbid anatomical and industrial-hygiene-related
  30. study. Arch.Gewerbepathol. Gewerbehyg 1944; 12:
  31. -61. (in German).
  32. Sluis-Cremer GK, Du Toit RS. Pneumoconiosis in
  33. chromite miners in South Africa. Br J Ind Med 1968;
  34. (1): 63-7.
  35. Rastogi SK, Pandey A , Tripathi S. Occupational health
  36. risks among the workers employed in leather tanneries
  37. at Kanpur. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2008; 12(3):
  38. -5.
  39. Lindberg E, Hdenstierna G. Chrome plating: Symptoms,
  40. findings in upper airways, and effects on lung function.
  41. Arch Environ Health 1983; 38: 367-74.
  42. Reggiani A, Lotti M, De Rosa E, Saia B. Impairments of
  43. respiratory functions in subjects exposed to chromium:
  44. Note1. Spirographic changes. Lav Um 1973; 25(1): 23-7.
  45. Bovet P, Lob M, Gradjiean M. Spirometric Alteration in
  46. workers in chromium electroplating industry. Int Arch
  47. Occup Environ Health 1977; 40(1): 25-32.
  48. US PHS, Health of workers in chromate producing
  49. industry, Washington DC, US Department of Health,
  50. Education and Welfare, US Public Health Service 1953;
  51. (192): 131 pp.
  52. Hayden SP, Pincock AC, Hayden J, Tyler LE, Cross KW,
  53. Bishop HM. Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary
  54. function of welders in the engineering industry. Thorax
  55. ; 39: 442-7.
  56. Erkinjuntti-Pekkanen R, Slater T, Cheng S, Fishwick D,
  57. Bradshaw L, Kimbell-Dunn M, et al. Two year follow
  58. up of pulmonary function values among welders in
  59. New Zealand. Occup Environ Med 1999; 56: 328–33.
  60. Huvinen M, Utti J, Oksa p, Laippala p. Respiratory
  61. health effects of long-term exposure to different
  62. chromium species in stainless steel production. Occup
  63. Med 2002; (4): 203-12.
  64. Ferris BG. Epidemiology Standardization project. Am
  65. Rev Respir Dis 1978; 118: 1-120.
  66. American thoracic society (ATS) statement snowbird
  67. workshop on standardization of spirometry. Am Rev
  68. Respir Dis 1979; 119(5): 831-8.
  69. Were FH, Charles Moturi M, Kamau GN, Wafula GA.
  70. Respiratory Diseases Due to Occupational Exposure
  71. to Nickel and Chromium among Factory Workers in
  72. Kenya. J Community Med Health Educ 2013; 3: 7.
  73. Hamzah NA, Mohd Tamrin SB, Ismail NH. Metal Dust
  74. Exposure and Respiratory Health of Male Steel Workers
  75. in Terengganu, Malaysia. Iranian J Publ Health 2014;
  76. (3): 154-66 Original.
  77. Were FH, Charles Moturi M, Wafula GA. Chromium
  78. Exposure and Related Health Effects among Tannery
  79. Workers in Kenya. J Health Pollut 2014; 4(7): 25-35.
  80. Hsien-Wen Kuo, Jim-Shoung Lai, Tsai-In Lin. Nasal
  81. septum lesions and lung function in workers exposed
  82. to chromic acid in electroplating factories. Int Arch
  83. Occup Environ Health 1997; 70: 272-6.
  84. Osim EE, Tandayi M, Chinyanga HM, Matarira HT,
  85. Mudambo KK, Musabayane CT. Lung function,
  86. blood gases, pH and serum electrolytes of small scale
  87. miners exposed to chrome ore dust on the Great Dyke
  88. in Zimbabwe. Trop Med Int Health 1999; 4(9): 621–8 .
  89. Saad-Hussein A, Sharaf NE, Abdel-Shakour A,
  90. Hammad SA, Abd-ElGelil KS. Ventilatory Problems
  91. and Cytogenetic Changes in workers occupationally
  92. exposed to chromium. AJCR 2013; 6 (2): 50-7.
  93. Sobaszek A, Edme JL, Boulenguez C, Shirali P,
  94. Mereau M, Robin H, et al. Respiratory symptoms and
  95. pulmonary function among stainless steel welders. J
  96. Occup Environ Med 1998; 40(3): 223-9.
  97. Antti-Poika M, Hassi J, Pyy L. Respiratory diseases
  98. in arc welders. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1977;
  99. (3): 225-30.