American journal of industrial medicine vol:34 issue:2 pages:169-76
BACKGROUND: To report a well-documented case of both allergic contact dermatitis and occupational asthma due to chromate exposure in a 48-year-old floorer. METHODS AND RESULTS: A 48-year-old floorer, occupationally exposed to cement and with a documented chromate contact dermatitis, reported dyspnea and wheezing after work. These conditions were demonstrated by self-measured sequential peak expiratory flows. A first bronchial provocation (BPT) with potassium dichromate (K2Cr2O7) (0.3% nebulized for a total of 60 minutes) led to pronounced and sustained decreases in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity, accompanied by pruritus, a decrease in arterial PO2, a slight rise in temperature, and peripheral blood leukocytosis. (This concentration of K2Cr2O7 is not recommended for BPT). Bronchoalveolar lavage performed 2 days later showed 18% eosinophils. Tow years later, a BPT with a lower dose of K2Cr2O7 (0.01% for the total of 31 min) led to an "earl late" reaction (FEV1 dropped by 195 compared with the initial FEV1 value), accompanied by pruritus. A BPT with dry cement, containing 12 ppm hexavalent chromium, was borderline (FEV1 dropped by 13%), and a similar result (FEV1 dropped by 14%) was obtained after smoking five cigarettes, laced with 10 mg of cement per cigarette. CONCLUSIONS: This report illustrates that a subject, with allergic contact dermatitis to chromates, may develop a respiratory allergic reaction to an airborne source of this metal. The main novelty of our report is that the smoking of cigarettes contaminated with cement may have been significant factor in the causation or elicitation of these reactions.