Oxidative stress plays a crucial role in the development of diseases induced by welding fumes. To our knowledge, little information is available on the relationship between multiple heavy metal exposure and oxidative stress in welders. We assessed the relationship between multiple heavy metal exposure and oxidative damage by analyzing 174 nonsmoking male welders in a shipyard. Urinary metals were used as the internal dose of exposure to metals in welding fumes, and urinary 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) was used as an oxidative DNA damage marker. The relationship between workers’ metal levels and 8-OHdG was estimated using a multiple linear regression model. The geometric mean levels of urinary chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) were considerably higher in welders than in controls. Urinary Cr and Ni were determined as effective predictors of urinary 8-OHdG levels after adjusting for covariates. Oxidative DNA damage was associated with both Cr and Ni of welding fume exposure in shipyard welders (Ln Cr: β = 0.33, 95%C.I. = 0.16–0.49; Ln Ni: β = 0.27, 95%C.I. = 0.12–0.43). In this study, we investigated the significantly positive relationship between urinary metals (especially Cr and Ni) and 8-OHdG in nonsmoking shipyard welders. Moreover, the use of particulate respirators did not reduce metal exposure and oxidative damage. Therefore, we infer that hazard identification for welders should be conducted.
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