Epidemiological follow-up study on cancer mortality in arc welders exposed to chrome-nickel

Project No. BGEM #015


completed 12/1996


Insight into the connection between the development of malignant tumours in the lung and nose area and high levels of nickel or chrome (VI) dust. Goal: estimation of the cancer risk to arc welders exposed to nickel and chrome (VI) dust in the form of welding smoke.


The first follow-up study was extended twice to cover a total period of observation from 1983 to 1996; determining the health and, where applicable, the cause of death in the test group (welders) and in the control group (turners); assessment of relative risk and standard mortality rates.


The statistical risk of cancer in welders is significantly increased; for all cancers RR=1.4/SMR=105 and for cancer of the lung/respiratory tract: RR 1.6 dominated by a high mesothelioma mortality in welders exposed to mixtures. A direct connection between the risk of cancer in welders and exposure to chrome-nickel could not definitely be proven taking into account the long period of observation. The statistical significance of the increased risk of tumours of the lung/respiratory tract in welders too can, in the main, be traced back to exposure to asbestos. A remarkable frequency of brain tumours should be investigated specifically.

Last Update:

15 Aug 2000


Financed by:
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Eisen- und Metall-Berufsgenossenschaften
Research institution(s):
  • Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
  • Abteilung Epidemiologie
  • Heidelberg

metal working

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Epidemiologie, Krebserregende Stoffe, Gefährdungsbeurteilung

Description, key words:

Risk of cancer, welder, chrome-nickel