Characteristics of Decreased Pulmonary Function and Clinical Symptoms in Nickel Electroplating Workers

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To investigate health problems, especially pulmonary function, among electroplating workers exposed to nickel.


We recruited 153 nickel-exposed and 74 control workers from electroplating shops in printed circuit board production plants. Questionnaires were conducted to collect basic information. Symptoms and pulmonary function were ascertained.


The average urine nickel level of the 79 high-exposure, 74 low-exposure, and 74 control workers were 7.38 ± 5.96, 5.79 ± 4.75, and 5.27 ± 3.89 μg/g Cr, respectively. Nickel-exposed workers had a significantly higher incidence of skin- and airway-based symptoms. A significant relationship between impaired pulmonary function and high (more than5.2 μg/g Cr) urine nickel level was observed.


Nickel-exposed workers had significantly higher urine nickel levels with more skin-, airway-based symptoms, as well as impaired pulmonary function. A dose–response relationship between decreased pulmonary function and nickel exposure status was observed.

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