Nasal septum lesions and lung function in workers exposed to chromic acid in electroplating factories

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1997;70(4):272-6. doi: 10.1007/s004200050218.


The objective of this study was to compare workers from chromium, nickel-chromium, and zinc electroplating factories with regards to nasal septum lesions and lung function. Also investigated was the relationship between chromium levels in air and urine. A total of 189 workers from 11 electroplating factories (three chromium, six nickel-chromium, two zinc) were chosen from central Taiwan. All subjects were interviewed by constructed-questionnaire, given a nasal examination by a certified otolaryngologist and a lung function test. In the chromium factories 30.8% of the workers showed evidence of nasal septum perforations and 38.5% showed evidence of nasal septum ulcers. A Mantel extension test for trend showed that workers in the chromium factories were 31.7 times more likely to experience nasal ulcers than nickel-chromium and zinc factory workers. Those who worked in the electroplating tank area were 4.2 times more likely to experience ulcers and those with over 9 years' experience were 30.8 times more likely. A comparison of lung function adjusted for age, gender and smoking habit among workers showed that vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC), and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) were all significantly decreased among chromium factory workers. Because the results showed that the workers' health is being severely damaged by the harmful environment of chromium electroplating factories, the authors wish to suggest improvements in the workplace are vitally needed to ensure the safety of the workers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Chromates / adverse effects*
  • Chromium / pharmacokinetics
  • Electroplating*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Septum / drug effects*
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / urine
  • Taiwan
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Chromates
  • Chromium
  • chromic acid