Exposure to hexavalent chromium is associated with carcinogenic effects. Workers in electroplating industry are exposed both to hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) and to other chromium compounds [mostly trivalent chromium (Cr(III))], due to the use of chromic acid baths. The French National Research and Safety Institute has conducted a biomonitoring study on the exposure to the carcinogenic hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in the electroplating industry. A population of 93 workers were included.
In the context of mixed exposure to Cr(III) and Cr(VI) in electroplating, this study has showed that the urinary chromium depended only on airborne Cr(VI) concentrations. The biological limit value was derived from regression model between Cr urinary concentrations and airborne Cr(VI) concentrations, on the basis of the inhalation exposure of 1 µg/m3 Cr(VI), which is the French occupational exposure limit. It was estimated to be 1.8–2.6 µg/g creatinine hexavalent chromium. This value is consistent with the French biological limit value set in the electroplating industry. These results demonstrate that urinary chromium is an effective biological measure of exposure to hexavalent chromium, even in the context of mixed inhalation exposure to the less toxic Cr(III).
The authors of this study recently published an article on this issue in the Annals of Work Exposures and Health.