Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1977;3(4):192-202    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2773

Urinary chromium as an indicator of the exposure of welders to chromium.

by Tola S, Kilpiö J, Virtamo M, Haapa K

Five welders working with high alloy Cr-Ni steel and one working with mild steel were followed during one work week. The chromium concentration in air was measured concomitantly with urinary chromium determinations. The water-soluble chromium concentrations in air exceeded 0.05 mg/m3 during welding with coated electrodes, but metal inert-gas (MIG) welding produced much lower concentrations. The proportion of water-soluble hexavalent chromium in the air was usually more than 50% of the total chromium concentration during welding with coated electrodes, whereas less than 10% of the chromium produced during MIG welding was in a water-soluble. Since water-soluble chromium (hexavalent) is the more important biologically, the determination of both water-soluble and water-insoluble chromium concentrations is emphasized instead of the measurement of the total concentration. The urinary chromium concentration proved to be a good indicator of short-term exposure to water-soluble chromium when exposure was above the current threshold limit value of 0.05 mg/m3, concentrations of more than 30 microgram/g of creatinine representing an exposure level higher than the threshold limit value.