Clinical and allergological biomonitoring of occupational hypersensitivity to platinum group elements

A. Cristaudo, M. Picardo, F. Petrucci, G. Forte, N. Violante, O. Senofonte, A. Alimonti, F. Sera

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Platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), rhodium (Rh) and iridium (Ir), the platinum group elements (PGEs), have been reported to induce hypersensitive reactions. The purpose of this research was to assess: (i) the PGEs level in indoor air and in biological samples (blood, urine and hair) of workers involved in the assembly of catalysers and recycling metals; (ii) the prevalence and the clinical characteristics of hypersensitivity to PGEs; (iii) the association between the environmental exposure and the levels of the xenobiotics in biological samples and the presence of PGE allergies. Airborne particles were collected by means of fixed area samplers equipped with a PM10 sampling head and by means of personal devices worn by the workers. Analyses of all the samples were performed by a sector field and a quadrupole inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The highest mean level in PM10 airborne and soluble Pt percentage was found in coating department, while the highest concentrations of total Pd were found in the recycling and in the catalyst chemical departments, also confirmed by the biological data. Positive prick test reactions to PGEs were found in 17 out of the 103 workers who performed skin prick or patch tests. All of the 17 were positive to H2PtCl6, three out 17 also had a positive reaction to IrCl3 and RhCl3 and 1 also had a positive reaction to PdCl2. No differences were observed between subjects with positive or negative skin test to PGEs on mean concentration of the metals in blood, urine and hair. The results show that Pt-salts are important allergens in the catalyst industry and that the clinical manifestations involve the respiratory system, ocular symptoms and the skin. The concentration of PGEs in biological samples are not correlated with hypersensitivity, but the sensitivity is present only in subjects involved in production processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3343-3359
Number of pages17
JournalAnalytical Letters
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • Biological monitoring
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Occupational exposure
  • Platinum group elements
  • Skin test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry


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