Respiratory Health and Inflammatory Markers-Exposure to Cobalt in the Swedish Hard Metal Industry


Objective: To study the relationship between inhalable dust and cobalt, and respiratory symptoms, lung function, exhaled nitric oxide in expired air, and CC16 in the Swedish hard metal industry.

Methods: Personal sampling of inhalable dust and cobalt, and medical examination including blood sampling was performed for 72 workers. Exposure-response relationships were determined using logistic, linear, and mixed-model analysis.

Results: The average inhalable dust and cobalt concentrations were 0.079 and 0.0017 mg/m, respectively. Statistically significant increased serum levels of CC16 were determined when the high and low cumulative exposures for cobalt were compared. Nonsignificant exposure-response relationships were observed between cross-shift inhalable dust or cobalt exposures and asthma, nose dripping, and bronchitis.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest an exposure-response relationship between inhalable cumulative cobalt exposure and CC16 levels in blood, which may reflect an injury or a reparation process in the lungs.

Authors: Lena Andersson, Alexander Hedbrant, Ing-Liss Bryngelsson, Alexander Persson, Anders Johansson, Annette Ericsson, Per Vihlborg, Bengt Sjögren, Eva Särndahl, Leo Stockfelt, Håkan Westberg
; Full Source: Journal of occupational and environmental medicine 2020 Oct;62(10):820-829. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001952.