Epidemiology of Platinum Salt Sensitivity (PSS)

When the IPA Science Task Force (STF) was formed in 2008, the potential for certain complex halogenated platinum salts (CHPS) to cause respiratory sensitization (platinum salt sensitivity, PSS) in exposed workers had long been known. However, despite several epidemiology studies having been conducted and reported in the scientific literature, there was still little insight into the dose-response for PSS and consequently what constituted an appropriate, safe level of exposure for workers.

Two expert committees in Europe – the EU Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) and the Dutch Expert Committee on Occupational Safety (DECOS) – tasked with a similar challenge of proposing an occupational exposure limit (OEL) for soluble platinum compounds were faced with a relatively poor data set upon which to form their judgements.

To avoid a poor dataset resulting in overly precautionary and inappropriate OEL derivations, IPA through the STF agreed to sponsor the conduct of a new, more robust and reliable epidemiology study of occupational PSS.

The study was conducted by the Institute for Risk Assessment Science (IRAS) at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and led by Professor Dick Heederik. The epidemiology study assessed chloroplatinate exposure data and health surveillance data for over 1,000 new workers at five refineries during an 11-year period (1st January 2000 to 31st December 2010).

The study was larger and much more reliable than previous epidemiology studies in this area, and the publication of the study in the peer-reviewed scientific literature* marked a significant advancement in the understanding of the exposure-response relationship for PSS across industry and the scientific community.

* Heederik D, Jacobs J, Samadi S, van Rooy F, Portengen L, Houba, R (2016) Exposure-response analyses for platinum salt-exposed workers and sensitization: A retrospective cohort study among newly exposed workers using routinely collected surveillance data. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 137(3), 922-929.