Cross-sectional study of platinum salts sensitization among precious metals refinery workers

Am J Ind Med. 1990;18(6):653-64. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700180604.


A cross-sectional medical evaluation was conducted to determine respiratory and dermatological effects of platinum salts sensitization among workers in a secondary refinery of precious metals. Fifteen of 107 current employees and eight (28%) of 29 former employees, who had been terminated from employment on average for 5 years because of respiratory symptoms, had positive skin reactivity to platinum salts. Platinum salts skin reactivity was significantly associated with average air concentrations of platinum salts in employees' present work area. Workers with positive platinum salts skin tests had significantly higher prevalences of reported rhinitis, asthma, and dermatitis than negative skin test workers. They also had increased bronchial response to cold air challenge and elevated levels of total serum IgE. Platinum salts sensitization was not associated with atopic tendency as measured by sensitivity to common aeroallergens, but was strongly associated with cigarette smoking status. The findings indicate that cigarette smoking may be a risk factor for the development of platinum salts allergy. The persistence of platinum salts sensitization and high prevalence of adverse health outcomes among former workers demonstrate the importance of regular medical monitoring so that sensitized workers can be removed from exposure before they develop long-term health problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Cold Temperature
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Metallurgy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Platinum / adverse effects*
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Tests
  • Smoking / adverse effects


  • Platinum