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Am J Ind Med. 1990;17(5):607-15.

Cross-shift and chronic effects of stainless-steel welding related to internal dosimetry of chromium and nickel.

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Environmental Sciences Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles 90033.


Ninety welders from a stainless-steel fabricating plant were studied by pulmonary function tests and serum and urine chromium and nickel levels, cross-sectionally, and 31 were compared across a Monday shift. They had welded for a mean of 11 years, mean age was 44 years, and mean smoking duration was 20 years in 62 current smokers. Baseline spirometric tests were significantly reduced: FVC to 95.4 mean percentage of predicted (pop), FEV1 to 94.5 pop, FEF25-75 to 85.9 pop, and FEFR75-85 to 74.8 pop. Current smokers had greater reductions in flow rates and FVC than nonsmokers even after adjustment of their predicted values for the effects of duration of smoking. Neither alveolar volume at 104.3 pop nor diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (single breath) at 98.5 pop was reduced. There were no significant changes in pulmonary function measurements across a Monday workshift in 31 welders, but in seven men who welded stainless steel, levels of serum chromium (Cr) rose 66% from 1.9 +/- 2.1 micrograms/liter and urinary Cr increased 22%. Serum nickel levels rose only 7%, although they were elevated before shift, 1.1 +/- 0.4 micrograms/liter (compared with 0.21 +/- 0.20 micrograms/liter in controls), and urinary nickel levels did not increase. Eleven years of welding had reduced vital capacities and expiratory flows. Monday stainless-steel welding raised the serum and urine chromium levels (measures of internal dosimetry for exposure) but did not decrease pulmonary function values.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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