Occupational asthma due to chromium and nickel salts

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2006 Jun;79(6):483-6. doi: 10.1007/s00420-005-0078-z. Epub 2006 Jan 10.


Background: Exposure to chromium and nickel salts is a poorly characterized cause of occupational asthma.

Methods: We describe four patients with work-related asthma due to metallic salts. Skin-prick tests to potassium dichromate and nickel sulfate were performed. The patients underwent methacholine inhalation tests and specific inhalation challenges (SIC) with both chromium and nickel salts.

Results: Two patients showed positive skin-prick tests to potassium dichromate and nickel sulfate. All patients had bronchial hyperresponsiveness to methacholine, which increased 24 h after SIC with metallic salts. SIC with potassium dichromate elicited late asthmatic reactions (LAR) in two workers, one subject had an early asthmatic reaction (EAR), and another subject showed a dual asthmatic reaction (DAR). SIC with nickel sulfate induced a DAR in one subject and a late asthmatic reaction in another.

Conclusions: Chromium and nickel salts can give rise to occupational asthma in exposed workers. The underlying mechanism may be IgE-mediated in some cases.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / chemically induced*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Electroplating
  • Extraction and Processing Industry
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin E / immunology
  • Inhalation
  • Male
  • Nickel / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Potassium Dichromate / adverse effects*
  • Skin Tests


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • nickel sulfate
  • Nickel
  • Potassium Dichromate