Long-term trends in exposures to nickel aerosols

AIHAJ. May-Jun 2000;61(3):324-33. doi: 10.1080/15298660008984540.


A comprehensive evaluation of temporal changes in exposure to nickel aerosols in the nickel-producing and nickel-using industries was conducted. For various nickel compounds, trends in the geometric mean exposure levels were evaluated on the basis of job group, building, plant, and industrial sector. At each level of classification, approximately two-thirds of the data provided evidence of workplace declines in exposures. Depending on how exposure measurements were aggregated, approximately one-quarter to one-half of the data produced statistically significant trends, with far more exposures declining than increasing over time. Whereas significantly negative linear trends were detected for total nickel exposures in the mining (-7%/yr), smelting (-9%/yr), and refining (-7%/yr) sectors, total nickel exposures in milling showed a significantly positive trend (+4%/yr). When the data were classified at the job group, building, or plant level, the median rate of change in exposure levels was -4, -6, and -3%/yr, respectively. For a subset of the data, effects of various factors related to work environment, process, and nature of the job on trends in exposure levels were evaluated. When such factors were examined simultaneously, the results suggested that the decline in exposures was greater in workplaces with no ventilation system compared with ventilated workplaces, in groups of workers who performed similar rather than diverse tasks, and in North American workplaces compared with workplaces in Europe and Western Australia. These results could be used in the design of prospective sampling protocols and in future retrospective health-effects studies of workers in the nickel industries.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Metallurgy*
  • Nickel / analysis*
  • North America
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Western Australia


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Nickel