Biomonitoring of Platinum Group Elements (PGEs) in Occupational Medicine

  • Iavicoli IvoEmail author
  • Leso Veruscka
Part of the Environmental Science and Engineering book series (ESE)


Platinum, palladium, rhodium and iridium are platinum group elements (PGEs) employed in several industrial, chemical, and electronic applications and as active catalyst materials in automotive converters. However, despite the widespread use of these metals and their increasing emission into the environment due to the abrasion of catalytic devices, little is known of their toxic effects. Considerable concern has therefore arisen over the potential health risks for the general population and particularly for workers exposed to PGEs during production and recycling activities or via traffic emissions. Consequently, biological monitoring is important in order to assess PGE exposure, early effects and susceptibility factors so that occupational risks can be adequately evaluated and managed. This chapter aims to evaluate potential biomarkers of occupational PGE exposure and discuss issues regarding future research aimed at determining indicators of early PGE effects and susceptibility, and focus on the relevance and feasibility of these potential biomarkers in occupational health practice.


Platinum group elements (PGEs) Platinum Palladium Rhodium Iridium Biological monitoring Biomarkers of exposure Biomarkers of effect Biomarkers of susceptibility 


  1. Baker DB, Gann PH, Brooks SM, Gallagher J, Bernstein IL (1990) Cross-sectional study of platinum salts sensitization among precious metals refinery workers. Am J Ind Med 18:653–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Batista J, Schuhmacher M, Domingo JL, Corbella J (1996) Mercury in hair for a child population from Tarragona Province, Spain. Sci Total Environ 193:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bedello PG, Goitre M, Roncarolo G, Bundino S, Cane D (1987) Contact dermatitis to rhodium. Contact Dermatitis 17:111–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Begerow J, Dunemann L (2000) Internal platinum and palladium exposure of the general population with emphasis on the exposure from automobile exhaust and dental restorative alloys. In: Zereini F, Alt F (eds) Anthropogenic platinum-group element emissions. Their impact on man and environment. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  5. Bergman A, Svedberg U, Nilsson E (1995) Contact urticaria with anaphylactic reactions caused by occupational exposure to iridium salt. Contact Dermatitis 32:14–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Biagini RE, Bernstein IL, Gallagher JS, Moorman WJ, Brooks S, Gann PH (1985) The diversity of reaginic immune responses to platinum and palladium metallic salts. J Allergy Clin Immunol 76:794–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bolm-Audorff U, Bienfait HG, Burkhard J, Bury AH, Merget R, Pressel G, Schultze-Werninghaus G (1992) Prevalence of respiratory allergy in a platinum refinery. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 64:257–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boscolo P, Di Giampaolo L, Reale M, Castellani ML, Ritavolpe A, Carmignani M, Ponti J, Paganelli R, Sabbioni E, Conti P, Di Gioacchino M (2004) Different effects of platinum, palladium, and rhodium salts on lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine release. Ann Clin Lab Sci 34:299–306Google Scholar
  9. Boscolo P, Bellante V, Leopold K, Maier M, Di Giampaolo L, Antonucci A, Iavicoli I, Tobia L, Paoletti A, Montalti M, Petrarca C, Qiao N, Sabbioni E, Di Gioacchino M (2010) Effects of palladium nanoparticles on the cytokine release from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of non-atopic women. J Biol Regul Homeost Agents 24:207–214Google Scholar
  10. Brooks SM, Baker DB, Gann PH, Jarabek AM, Hertzberg V, Gallagher J, Biagini RE, Bernstein IL (1990) Cold air challenge and platinum skin reactivity in platinum refinery workers. Bronchial reactivity precedes skin prick response. Chest 97:1401–1407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Calverley AE, Rees D, Dowdeswell RJ (1999) Allergy to complex salts of platinum in refinery workers: prospective evaluations of IgE and Phadiatop status. Clin Exp Allergy 29:703–711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cristaudo A, Picardo M, Petrucci F, Forte G, Violante N, Senofonte O, Alimonti A, Sera F (2007) Clinical and allergological biomonitoring of occupational hypersensitivity to platinum group elements. Anal Lett 40:3343–3359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cristaudo A, Sera F, Severino V, De Rocco M, Di Lella E, Picardo M (2005) Occupational hypersensitivity to metal salts, including platinum, in the secondary industry. Allergy 60:159–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cromwell O, Pepys J, Parish WE, Hughes EG (1979) Specific IgE antibodies to platinum salts in sensitized workers. Clin Allergy 9:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Daenen M, Rogiers P, Van de Walle C, Rochette F, Demedts M, Nemery B (1999) Occupational asthma caused by palladium. Eur Respir J 13:213–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. de la Cuadra J, Grau-Massanés M (1991) Occupational contact dermatitis from rhodium and cobalt. Contact Dermatitis 25:182–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Di Gioacchino M, Di Giampaolo L, Verna N, Reale M, Di Sciascio MB, Volpe AR, Carmignani M, Ponti J, Paganelli R, Sabbioni E, Boscolo P (2004) In vitro effects of platinum compounds on lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine release. Ann Clin Lab Sci 34:195–202Google Scholar
  18. Di Gioacchino M, Verna N, Di Giampaolo L, Di Claudio F, Turi MC, Perrone A, Petrarca C, Mariani-Costantini R, Sabbioni E, Boscolo P (2007) Immunotoxicity and sensitizing capacity of metal compounds depend on speciation. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 20(2 Suppl 2):15–22Google Scholar
  19. Djingova R, Kovacheva P, Wagner G, Markert B (2003) Distribution of platinum group elements and other traffic related elements among different plants along some highways in Germany. Sci Total Environ 308:235–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ek KH, Rauch S, Morrison GM, Lindberg P (2004) Platinum group elements in raptor eggs, faeces, blood, liver and kidney. Sci Total Environ 334–335:149–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Farago ME, Kavanagh P, Blanks R, Kelly J, Kazantzis G, Thornton I, Simpson PR, Cook JM, Delves HT, Hall GE (1998) Platinum concentrations in urban road dust and soil, and in blood and urine in the United Kingdom. Analyst 123:451–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gebel T, Lantzsch H, Plessow K, Dunkelberg H (1997) Genotoxicity of platinum and palladium compounds in human and bacterial cells. Mutat Res 389:183–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gómez B, Palacios MA, Gómez M, Sanchez JL, Morrison G, Rauch S, McLeod C, Ma R, Caroli S, Alimonti A, Petrucci E, Bocca B, Schramel P, Zischka M, Petterson C, Wass U (2002) Levels and risk assessment for humans and ecosystems of platinum-group elements in the airborne particles and road dust of some European cities. Sci Total Environ 299:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goossens A, Cattaert N, Nemery B, Boey L, De Graef E (2011) Occupational allergic contact dermatitis caused by rhodium solutions. Contact Dermatitis 64:158–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hooda PS, Miller A, Edwards AC (2007) The distribution of automobile catalysts-cast platinum, palladium and rhodium in soils adjacent to roads and their uptake by grass. Sci Total Environ 384:384–392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hooda PS, Miller A, Edwards AC (2008) The plant availability of auto-cast platinum group elements. Environ Geochem Health 30:135–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hughes EG (1980) Medical surveillance of platinum refinery workers. J Soc Occup Med 30:27–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Iavicoli I, Bocca B, Carelli G, Caroli S, Caimi S, Alimonti A, Fontana L (2007) Biomonitoring of tram drivers exposed to airborne platinum, rhodium and palladium. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 81:109–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Iavicoli I, Bocca B, Caroli S, Caimi S, Alimonti A, Carelli G, Fontana L (2008a) Exposure of Rome city tram drivers to airborne platinum, rhodium, and palladium. J Occup Environ Med 50:1158–1166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Iavicoli I, Bocca B, Petrucci F, Senofonte O, Carelli G, Alimonti A, Caroli S (2004) Biomonitoring of traffic police officers exposed to airborne platinum. Occup Environ Med 61:636–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Iavicoli I, Carelli G, Bocca B, Caimi S, Fontana L, Alimonti A (2008b) Environmental and biological monitoring of iridium in the city of Rome. Chemosphere 71:568–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Iavicoli I, Carelli G, Marinaccio A, Fontana L, Calabrese E (2008c) Effects of sub-chronic exposure to palladium (as potassium hexachloro-palladate) on cytokines in male Wistar rats. Hum Exp Toxicol 27:493–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Iavicoli I, Carelli G, Marinaccio A, Magrini A, Fontana L, Boscolo P, Bergamaschi A (2006) The effects of sub-acute exposure to palladium on cytokines in male Wistar rats. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol 19(4 Suppl):21–24Google Scholar
  34. Iavicoli I, Fontana L, Marinaccio A, Alimonti A, Pino A, Bergamaschi A, Calabrese EJ (2011) The effects of iridium on the renal function of female Wistar rats. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 74:1795–1799CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Iavicoli I, Fontana L, Marinaccio A, Bergamaschi A, Calabrese EJ (2010) Iridium alters immune balance between T helper 1 and T helper 2 responses. Hum Exp Toxicol 29:213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Iavicoli I, Sgambato A, Fontana L, Marinaccio A, Leso V, Corbi M, Bergamaschi A, Calabrese EJ (2012) Effects of sub-acute exposure to rhodium (as Rh (III) chloride hydrate) on cytokines in female Wistar rats. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 89:686–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Iavicoli I, Leso V, Fontana L, Marinaccio A, Bergamaschi A, Calabrese EJ (in press) The effects of rhodium on the renal function of female Wistar rats. Chemosphere. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.10.077
  38. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) (2004) Mechanisms of immunosensitization to metals (IUPAC Technical Report). Pure Appl Chem 76:1255–1268Google Scholar
  39. Jarvis KE, Parry SJ, Piper JM (2001) Temporal and spatial studies of autocatalyst-derived platinum, rhodium, and palladium and selected vehicle-derived trace elements in the environment. Environ Sci Technol 35:1031–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson Matthey Publications (2013) Platinum 2013 Interim Review. Accessed on 29 November 2013
  41. Kielhorn J, Melber C, Keller D, Mangelsdorf I (2002) Palladium—a review of exposure and effects to human health. Int J Hyg Environ Health 205:417–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kiilunen M, Vanhala E, Tossavainen A (2004) Occupational exposure to platinum group metals in Finland. Tox Appl Pharm 197:326–326Google Scholar
  43. Manno M, Viau C; in collaboration with, Cocker J, Colosio C, Lowry L, Mutti A, Nordberg M, Wang S (2010) Biomonitoring for occupational health risk assessment (BOHRA). Toxicol Lett 192: 3–16Google Scholar
  44. Marcheselli M, Sala L, Mauri M (2010) Bioaccumulation of PGEs and other traffic-related metals in populations of the small mammal Apodemus sylvaticus. Chemosphere 80:1247–1254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mathur R, Balaram V, Satyanarayanan M, Sawant SS, Ramesh SL (2011) Anthropogenic platinum, palladium and rhodium concentrations in road dusts from Hyderabad city, India. Environ Earth Sci 62:1085–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Merget R, Caspari C, Dierkes-Globisch A, Kulzer R, Breitstadt R, Kniffka A, Degens P, Schultze-Werninghaus G (2001) Effectiveness of a medical surveillance program for the prevention of occupational asthma caused by platinum salts: a nested case-control study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 107:707–712CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Merget R, Caspari C, Kulzer R, Breitstadt R, Rueckmann A, Schultz-Werninghaus G (1995) The sequence of symptoms, sensitization and bronchial hyperresponsiveness in early occupational asthma due to platinum salts. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 107:406–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Merget R, Kulzer R, Dierkes-Globisch A, Breitstadt R, Gebler A, Kniffka A, Artelt S, Koenig HP, Alt F, Vormberg R, Baur X, Schultze-Werninghaus G (2000) Exposure-effect relationship of platinum salt allergy in a catalyst production plant: conclusions from a 5-year prospective cohort study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 105:364–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Merget R, Kulzer R, Kniffka A, Alt F, Breitstadt R, Bruening T (2002) Platinum concentrations in sera of catalyst production workers are not predictive of platinum salt allergy. Int J Hyg Environ Health 205:347–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Merget R, Sander I, van Kampen V, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Ulmer HM, Kulzer R, Bruening T (2010) Occupational immediate-type asthma and rhinitis due to rhodium salts. Am J Ind Med 53:42–46Google Scholar
  51. Merget R, Schultze-Werninghaus G, Bode F, Bergmann EM, Zachgo W, Meier-Sydow J (1991) Quantitative skin prick and bronchial provocation tests with platinum salt. Br J Ind Med 48:830–837Google Scholar
  52. Merget R, Schultze-Werninghaus G, Muthorst T, Friedrich W, Meier-Sydow J (1988) Asthma due to the complex salts of platinum–a cross-sectional survey of workers in a platinum refinery. Clin Allergy 18:569–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Messersehmidt J, Alt F, Tolg G, Angerer J, Sehaller KH (1992) Adsorptive voltammetric procedure for the determination of platinum baseline levels in human body fluids. Fresenius J Anal Chem 343:391–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Migliore L, Frenzilli G, Nesti C, Fontaner S, Sabbioni E (2002) Cytogenetic and oxidative damage induced in human lynmphocytes by platinum, rhodium and palladium compounds. Mutagenesis 17:411–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Moldovan M, Palacios MA, Gómez MM, Morrison G, Rauch S, McLeod C, Ma R, Caroli S, Alimonti A, Petrucci F, Bocca B, Schramel P, Zischka M, Pettersson C, Wass U, Luna M, Saenz JC, Santamaría J (2002) Environmental risk of particulate and soluble platinum group elements released from gasoline and diesel engine catalytic converters. Sci Total Environ 296:199–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Murdoch RD, Pepys J (1987) Platinum group metal sensitivity: reactivity to platinum group metal salts in platinum halide salt-sensitive workers. Ann Allergy 59:464–469Google Scholar
  57. Murdoch RD, Pepys J, Hughes EG (1986) IgE antibody responses to platinum group metals: a large scale refinery survey. Br J Ind Med 43:37–43Google Scholar
  58. Newman Taylor A (2001) Role of human leukocyte antigen phenotype and exposure in development of occupational asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol 1:157–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Newman Taylor AJ, Cullinan P, Lympany PA, Harris JM, Dowdeswell RJ, du Bois RM (1999) Interaction of HLA phenotype and exposure intensity in sensitization to complex platinum salts. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 160:435–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Niemela M, Peramaki P, Piispanen J, Poikolainen J (2004) Determination of platinum and rhodium in dust and plant samples using microwave-assisted sample digestion and ICPMS. Anal Chim Acta 521:137–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Niezborala M, Garnier R (1996) Allergy to complex platinum salts: A historical prospective cohort study. Occup Environ Med 53:252–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Orfao A, Ruiz-Arguelles A (1996) General concepts about cell sorting techniques. Clin Biochem 29:5–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Óvári M, Muránszky G, Zeiner M, Virág I, Steffan I, Mihucz VG, Tatár E, Caroli S, Záray G (2007) Determination of Pt in urine of tram drivers by sector field inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Microchem J 87:159–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Palacios MA, Gómez M, Moldovan M, Gómez B (2000) Assessment of environmental contamination risk by Pt, Rh and Pd from automobile catalyst. Microchem J 67:105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Pepys J, Parish WE, Cromwell O, Hughes EG (1979) Specific IgE and IgG antibodies to platinum salts in sensitized workers. Monogr Allergy 14:142–145Google Scholar
  66. Petrucci F, Violante N, Senofonte O, Cristaudo A, Di Gregorio M, Forte G, Alimonti A (2005) Biomonitoring of a worker population exposed to platinum dust in a catalyst production plant. Occup Environ Med 62:27–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Petrucci F, Violante N, Senofonte O, De Gregorio M, Alimenti A, Caroli S, Forte G, Cristaudo A (2004) Development of an analytical method for monitoring worker populations exposed to platinum-group elements. Microchem J 76:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pino A, Alimonti A, Conti ME, Bocca B (2010) Iridium, platinum and rhodium baseline concentration in lichens from Tierra del Fuego (South Patagonia, Argentina). J Environ Monit 12:1857–1863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Raulf-Heimsoth M, Merget R, Rihs HP, Föhring M, Liebers V, Gellert B, Schultze-Werninghaus G, Baur X (2000) T-cell receptor repertoire expression in workers with occupational asthma due to platinum salt. Eur Respir J 16:871–878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ravindra K, Bencs L, Van Grieken R (2004) Platinum group elements in the environment and their health risk. Sci Total Environ 318:1–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Reale M, Vianale G, Lotti LV, Mariani-Costantini R, Perconti S, Cristaudo A, Leopold K, Antonucci A, Di Giampaolo L, Iavicoli I, Di Gioacchino M, Boscolo P (2011) Effects of palladium nanoparticles on the cytokine release from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of palladium-sensitized women. J Occup Environ Med 53:1054–1060CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rebandel P, Rudzki E (1990) Allergy to palladium. Contact Dermatitis 23:121–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Santucci B, Valenzano C, de Rocco M, Cristaudo A (2000) Platinum in the environment: frequency of reactions to platinum-group elements in patients with dermatitis and urticaria. Contact Dermatitis 43:333–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Schaller KH, Angerer J, Alt F, Messersschmidt J, Wever A (1992) The determination of platinum in blood and urine as a tool for the biological monitoring of internal exposure. In: Proceedings of SPIE-international society for optical engineering 1993, international conference on monitoring of toxic chemicals and biomarkers 1716: 498–504. Assessed on 25 November 2013
  75. Schierl R (2000) Environmental monitoring of platinum in air and urine. Microchem J 67:245–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schierl R, Fries HG, van de Weyer C, Fruhmann G (1998) Urinary excretion of platinum from platinum industry workers. Occup Environ Med 55:138–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Schuhmacher M, Bellés M, Rico A, Domingo JL, Corbella J (1996) Impact of reduction of lead in gasoline on the blood and hair lead levels in the population of Tarragona Province, Spain, 1990–1995. Sci Total Environ 184:203–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Schwenk M, Klein R, Templeton DM (2008) Lymphocyte subpopulations in human exposure to metals. Pure Appl Chem 80:1349–1364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. SCOEL/SUM/150D (2011) Recommendation from the scientific committee on occupational exposure limits for platinum and platinum compounds. Accessed on 28 November 2013
  80. Violante N, Petrucci F, Senofonte O, Cristaudo A, Di Gregorio M, Forte G, Alimonti A (2005) Assessment of workers’ exposure to palladium in a catalyst production plant. J Environ Monit 7:463–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wang Y, Li X (2012) International symposium on safety science and technology health risk of platinum group elements from automobile catalysts. Procedia Eng 45:1004–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wiseman CL, Zereini F (2009) Airborne particulate matter, platinum group elements and human health: a review of recent evidence. Sci Total Environ 407:2493–2500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Zaray G, Ovari M, Salma I, Steffan I, Zeiner M, Caroli S (2004) Determination of platinum in urine and airborne particulate matter from Budapest and Vienna. Microchem J 76:31–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Zereini F, Alsenz H, Wiseman CL, Püttmann W, Reimer E, Schleyer R, Bieber E, Wallasch M (2012) Platinum group elements (Pt, Pd, Rh) in airborne particulate matter in rural vs. urban areas of Germany: concentrations and spatial patterns of distribution. Sci Total Environ 416:261–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zereini F, Alt F, Messerschmidt J, Wiseman C, Feldmann I, von Bohlen A, Müller J, Liebl K, Püttmann W (2005) Concentration and distribution of heavy metals in urban airborne particulate matter in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Environ Sci Technol 39:2983–2989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zereini F, Wiseman C, Alt F, Messerschmidt J, Müller J, Urban H (2001) Platinum and rhodium concentrations in airborne particulate matter in Germany from 1988 to 1998. Environ Sci Technol 35:1996–2000CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zereini F, Wiseman C, Püttmann W (2007) Changes in palladium, platinum, and rhodium concentrations, and their spatial distribution in soils along a major highway in Germany from 1994 to 2004. Environ Sci Technol 41:451–456CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Public Health—Division of Occupational MedicineUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations