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J Environ Sci (China). 2004;16(2):181-6.

Health implication among occupational exposed workers in a chromium alloy factory, Thailand.

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  • 1Research Lab Supervisor, Urban Environmental Engineering and Management Program, School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, GPO Box 4, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand.


This study was conducted to assess the occupational exposure and its health impact on the chromium alloy workers. Environmental and biological monitoring, noise and audiometry measurements were done to evaluate the exposure levels in the factory. A total of 112 non-smoking workers were monitored from July 2001 to August 2002. The results showed that most of the chromium and lead exposures in the factory were below the ACGIH-TWA of 50 microg/m3 for chromium(VI) and OSHA-PEL of 50 microg/m3 for lead. The highest chromium (7.25 +/- 0.16 microg/m3) and lead (14.50 +/- 0.29 microg/m3) concentrations were measured in the vibro room. The results indicated that elevated concentrations of chromium and lead were found in both blood and urine samples especially in those areas which were characterized by poor ventilation. The metal contents in blood and urine samples were significantly correlated with airborne metal concentrations in the factory. The result demonstrated that blood and urinary levels among workers were associated with increasing age and duration of exposure. The background noise level of the factory ranged from 67.6 to 89.2 dBA and was frequently higher than the threshold limit value for noise (90 dBA). According to the audiometric test, the exposed workers showed signs of noise-induced hearing loss. Noise at work continued to be an important factor to hearing loss among exposed workers. In our statistical analysis, a significant hearing loss was established on age effect and year of exposure among the workforce.

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