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Environ Health Perspect. 2006 Apr;114(4):542-6.

The effect of inhaled chromium on different exhaled breath condensate biomarkers among chrome-plating workers.

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Laboratory of Industrial Toxicology, Department of Clinical Medicine, Nephrology and Health Sciences, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43100 Parma, Italy.


Chromium is corrosive, cytotoxic, and carcinogenic for humans and can induce acute and chronic lung tissue toxicity. The aim of this study was to investigate Cr levels in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) of workers exposed to Cr(VI) and to assess their relationship with biochemical changes in the airways by analyzing EBC biomarkers of oxidative stress, namely, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and malondialdehyde (MDA). EBC samples were collected from 24 chrome-plating workers employed in a chrome-plating plant both before and after the Friday work shift and before the work shift on the following Monday. Cr-EBC levels increased from the beginning (5.3 microg/L) to the end of Friday (6.4 microg/L) but were considerably lower on Monday morning (2.8 microg/L). A similar trend was observed for H2O2-EBC levels (which increased from 0.36 microM to 0.59 microM on Friday and were 0.19 microM on Monday morning) and MDA-EBC levels (which increased from 8.2 nM to 9.7 nM on Friday and were 6.6 nM on Monday). Cr-EBC levels correlated with those of H2O2-EBC (r = 0.54, p < 0.01) and MDA-EBC (r = 0.59, p < 0.01), as well as with urinary Cr levels (r = 0.25, p < 0.05). The results of this study demonstrate that EBC is a suitable matrix that can be used to investigate both Cr levels and biomarkers of free radical production sampling the epithelial-lining fluid of workers exposed to Cr(VI).

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