Carcinogenic risk assessment and changes in Spirometric indices in casting and welding workers exposed to Metal fumes

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran.

2 Environmental Health Engineering Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

3 Department of Medical Education, Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, Texas, USA.

4 Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.

5 Student Research Committee, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Iran.


Introduction: The aim of this study was to investigate exposure to dust, and metal fumes, changes in pulmonary function indices among industrial workers to estimate the carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk of exposure to occupational metal fume.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was performed on 98 workers exposed to metal fumes. Air sampling was performed according to the NIOSH 0500 method and was analyzed by gravimetry and metal levels were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometry. Spirometric results for 2010-2016 were collected. Carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risk assessments were performed according to the US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. Data were analyzed by SPSS 20 software. Results: The mean occupational exposure of the subjects to workplace dust and iron fumes was 15.95 ± 6.65 mg/m3 and 13.18 ± 3.06 mg/m3 respectively. During these 6 years, the FVC (P=0.04), PEFR (P=0.04), and FEV1 (P=0.03) indices decreased significantly among welders, but there was no significant difference between FEV1/ FVC indexes. Also, the mean of FEV1 and PEFR decreased significantly amongst casting workers, but FVC and FEV1/ FVC had no significant difference. Multivariate regression showed that in both jobs, BMI and work history were related to pulmonary function indices. The mean total excess ifetime carcinogenic risk (ELCR) of hexavalent chromium in the study population was 0.708 per 1000 people and the mean non-carcinogenic risk of hexavalent chromium was HQ = 19.62. Conclusions: The results showed that exposure to metal fumes in casting and welding jobs reduces pulmonary function indices. Although the average occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium is lower than the recommended limit and the risk of carcinogenesis is within an acceptable range, the risk of non-carcinogenic effects among workers is significant Therefore, it is important to prevent this problem, by adequate ventilation and using respiratory masks.


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