Deposition of nickel, chromium, and cobalt on the skin in some occupations – assessment by acid wipe sampling

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Nickel, chromium, and cobalt are important skin sensitizers. Better knowledge about skin exposure is needed for more efficient prevention. We have previously developed acid wipe sampling for assessment of skin exposure to metals.


To apply the acid wipe sampling technique in some occupations where intense contact with metallic items occurs and to gather experience for the design of future workplace studies.


18 volunteers (carpenters, locksmiths, cashiers, and secretaries as controls) participated. They performed their normal tasks during a job session for exposure. Samples were taken from fingers and palms by acid wipe sampling, and analysis of metals was performed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer.


The metals were detected in all samples, and the amount of nickel was larger than that of chromium and cobalt. Fingers were more exposed than palms. 8-h exposure to nickel was calculated and was highest in locksmiths (mean 3.784 μg/cm2, range 1.846–5.028 μg/cm2) followed by carpenters, cashiers, and secretaries.


The acid wipe sampling technique is suitable for studies of skin exposure to nickel, chromium, and cobalt in the workplace. The sampling efficiency of acid wipe sampling is high. The amounts of nickel deposited on skin in carpenters, locksmiths, and cashiers are judged capable of eliciting allergic contact dermatitis.

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