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Arch Environ Health. 1983 Nov-Dec;38(6):367-74.

Chrome plating: symptoms, findings in the upper airways, and effects on lung function.


Respiratory symptoms, lung function, and changes in the nasal septum were noted for 100 subjects exposed to chrome plating. The findings were compared with those of 119 nonexposed controls, studied with identical techniques, as well as with data in the literature. Complaints of nasal irritation were common among subjects exposed to a daily average that exceeded 1 microgram/m3 of chromic acid, while the frequency of chronic bronchitis was similar to that in different control series. Nasal septal ulceration and perforation were seen in two-thirds of the subjects exposed to peak levels of 20 micrograms/m3 or more. Both forced vital capacity and forced expired volume in 1 sec were reduced by 0.2 L. The forced midexpiratory flow diminished by 0.4 L/sec from Monday morning to Thursday afternoon in subjects exposed to a daily average of 2 micrograms/m3 or more chromic acid, but there was no clear correlation with short-term high exposure. Subjects exposed to lower levels showed no significant changes. Data collected on Monday morning (i.e., after 2 days without exposure) did not differ significantly from reference values. It is concluded that an 8-hr mean exposure exceeding 2 micrograms/m3 may cause a transient decrease in lung function, and that short-term exposure to at least 20 micrograms/m3 may cause septal ulceration and perforation.

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