Experimental exposure of healthy subjects with emissions from a gas metal arc welding process—part II: biomonitoring of chromium and nickel
Objectives The objective of this study was to investigate whether there is a relationship between the external exposure dose of chromium and nickel caused by a metal active gas welding process with a solid high-alloyed steel welding wire and inner exposure of subjects. In order to perform welding fume exposure under controlled and standardized conditions, the investigations were conducted in the “Aachen Workplace Simulation Laboratory”.
Methods To perform biological monitoring of chromium and nickel, blood and urine samples of 12 healthy male non-smokers who never worked as welders were collected before and after a 6-h exposure to ambient air (0 mg/m3) and to welding fumes of a metal active gas welding process once with a concentration of the welding fume of 1 mg/m3 and once with a concentration of 2.5 mg/m3.
Results Although the internal exposure to chromium and nickel in this study was comparatively low, the subjects showed significantly increased concentrations of these metals in urine after exposure to welding fume compared to the values at baseline. Moreover, the observed increase was significantly dose dependent for both of the substances.
Conclusion For the biological monitoring of chromium and nickel in urine of subjects exposed to welding fumes, a dependency on exposure dose was seen under standardized conditions after a single exposure over a period of 6 h. Thus, this study contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between ambient and biological exposures from welding fumes and provides a good basis for evaluating future biological threshold values for these metals in welding occupation.