Effect of occupational combined exposure of chromium and iron on erythrocyte metabolism

In this study, the effect of combined occupational exposure of chromium and iron on erythrocyte metabolism, and the possible mechanism were investigated. A total of 115 chromate production workers were selected in a chemical factory of Jinan as the exposure group, in December 2008, and 60 healthy residents from a community far away from the factory were enrolled as control group. Environmental concentrations of chromium and iron were collected by filter membrane sampling and detected. The peripheral blood of subjects were collected for detection of chromium, iron, copper in whole blood and folate, vitamin B12 in serum, mean corpuscular Hb (MCH) and mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Correlation analysis was conducted. The median (quartile interval) concentration of air-chromium and air-iron in workplace were 9.0(10.5) and 11.2-(10.1) íg/m3, respectively, which were significantly higher than that of the control (0.1(0.1) and 7.2(2.5) íg/m3) (all P values<0.01). Blood chromium and blood-iron of the exposed group were 15.5(14.1) íg/L and (895.1(90.2) mg/L, which were significantly higher than the counterpart of the control (3.6(2.0) íg/L, (563.7(49.3) mg/L) (all P values<0.01). Serum folate ((6.9(2.5) íg/L, serum vitamin B12 ((396.4(177.0) íg/L) and blood copper ((777.6(103.5) íg/L) of the exposed group were all significantly lower comparing to the control group ((558.0(330.8), (8.1(3.8), (812.1(94.6) íg/L) (all P values<0.05). The relationships between blood chromium and serum folate, serum vitamin B12 were statistical significant (r)-0.319 and -0.293, P<0.01). Both serum vitamin B12 and blood copper correlated with mean corpuscular Hb (MCH) and mean corpuscular vol. (MCV) (r)-0.223,-0.242, -0.261, -0.292, all P values<0.01). The authors concluded that combined chromium and iron exposure existed in the workplace. Adverse effect of chromium on human erythrocyte may via folate and vitamin B12 metabolism, while iron may via copper metabolism.

Authors: Qian, Qin; Wang, Tiancheng; Song, Yanshuang; Wang, Li; Li, Yuhui; Yu, Shanfa; Zhang, Ji; Ma, Yanhui; Zhang, Ning; Zhou, Jingwen; Liu, Lanzheng; Yan, Lei; Jia, Guang ;Full Source: Zhonghua Yufang Yixue Zazhi 2012, 46(4), 355-358 (Chinese) ;