The Russian nickel refineries located in the cities of Nikel and Zapolyarny close to the Norwegian border are responsible for extensive sulfur dioxide and nickel pollution, as well as severe ecological damage in both countries. The aim of our study was to investigate human nickel exposure in the populations living on both sides of the Norwegian-Russian border. The design was a cross-sectional population-based study of adults aged 18-69 years residing in Sor-Varanger municipality, Norway, and Nikel and Zapolyarny, Russia, during 1994 and 1995. Individual exposure to nickel was assessed by measurements of nickel in urine using electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry. For controls, urine was collected from adults in the Russian cities of Apatity and Umba (Kola Peninsula) and the Norwegian city of Tromso, all of which are locations without nearby point sources of nickel. Altogether 2,233 urine specimens were analysed for nickel. People living in Nikel had the highest concentrations (median 3.4 microg/l), followed by Umba (median 2.7 microg/l), Zapolyarny (median 2.0 microg/l), Apatity (median 1.9 microg/l), Tromso (median 1.2 microg/l), and Sor-Varanger (median 0.6 microg/l). Regardless of geographical location, the Russian study groups all had a higher urinary-nickel average than those in Norway (p<0.001). With the exception of Nikel,...

Smith-Sivertsen, Tone; Tchachtchine, Valeri; Lund, Eiliv; Bykov, Vladimir; Thomassen, Yngvar; Norseth, Tor
Environmental Health Perspectives National Institute of Environmental Health Science, Environmental Health Perspectives 106(8): 503–511
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