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EC number: 941-652-4 | CAS number: -
Hughson (2004) reported on a study comparing levels of nickel on the skin of nickel refinery workers (hands, forearms, neck, face and chest) from various refinery task areas to predicted exposure levels. Estimates of exposure to soluble and insoluble nickel compounds were derived using the European Union’s Existing Substances Risk Assessment (EASE) model for workers at two different nickel refineries; this model incorporated various job tasks. The author mentioned nickel hydroxycarbonate as one of the compounds to which the workers of the nickel packing area would have been exposed. The dermal nickel samples were collected by swabbing commercial moist wipes over measured areas of the skin. Each wipe sample was analyzed for soluble and insoluble forms of nickel using Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry, and the quantity of nickel in each wipe sample was used to determine the amount of nickel on each anatomical area.
The concentrations of nickel in skin samples collected from refinery workers performing various tasks were reported as follows (50th and 90th percentile for combined hands and arms of three to nine samples for both soluble and insoluble nickel; Nisol and Niinsol, respectively): leaching plant (0.24, 0.25 μg Nisol/cm2 skin; 0.15, 0.27 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin), electro-winning (0.25, 0.88 μg
Nisol/cm2 skin; 0.08, 1.0 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin), cathode cutting (0.26, 0.31 μg Nisol/cm2 skin; 0.36, 0.63 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin), nickel powder packing (2.6, 4.4 μg Nisol/cm2 skin; 6.4, 11 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin), nickel briquette packing (0.24, 0.74 μg Nisol/cm2 skin; 0.9, 6.04 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin), and nickel compound packing (0.39, 0.66 μg Nisol/cm2 skin; 0.18, 0.4 μg Niinsol/cm2 skin). The correlations of dermal nickel levels among the different anatomical areas were all significant. The author stated that the dermal exposures were less than predicted values generated by the EASE model, and the dermal nickel levels were much lower than levels measured in the zinc industry. However, no data or analyses were provided on either of these comparisons to support these claims. In addition, although the highest levels were observed among the nickel powder packing workers, the author indicated that an evaluation of the physical properties of the nickel species to which workers are exposed, rather than just the skin exposure to total nickel levels, should be addressed to provide a more accurate health risk assessment. STUDY RATED BY AN INDEPENDENT REVIEWER.
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