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Has anyone been diagnosed with Parkinsons after working in the chrome plating industry?

Q. Ten years ago my husband worked in the chrome plating industry. He was exposed to numerous chemicals. Chromic acid and sulfuric that we know of. Six months ago he was diagnosed with Parkinsons at the age of 34 after a tremor developed in his right hand and has progressively gotten worse. He has no family history of Parkinsons. This particular company did not have appropriate respirators for the employees. While he worked there he had several nosebleeds and has lost his sense of smell. Does anyone know if the chemicals he was exposed to could have caused this or if there is any testing that could be done since it has been ten years ago. He also has a perforated septum that happen while he worked there. Thanks

Shane Smith
plating shop - Lexington, Kentucky
September 22, 2010

A. Shane, Firstly, this is not the site you should be asking - you should be talking with a medical doctor and medical lawyer. Exposure to chromic acid (also known as hexavalent chromium) can result in a perforated septum and nose bleeds. OSHA gives a good description of its symptoms. Taking note of the damage that hexavalent chromium can cause, it would not surprise me in the slightest if it can also cause a loss of smell.

However, I have never heard of it causing Parkinson's disease, but perhaps it has not been linked to it.

It seems to me that your husband has been exposed to hexavalent chromium and has suffered significant industrial injury, so you should be seeking legal redress. However, to say it has caused Parkinsons Disease is another ball game entirely.

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK
September 24, 2010

Q. My mother worked on a chrome plating bath line and she developed Parkinsons. If you have any information please let me know.

Fran Doran
- Mount Pleasant, Iowa, USA
June 12, 2011

Q. Hi, I know this is really old but my father worked in chrome plating for 30 years with no ventilation and has had Parkinsons for 12 years and has now developed lewy body dementia with is connected to Parkinsons.

My grandmother (on my mother's side) also had severe Parkinsons and interestingly she worked in an aluminium factory.

I am trying to get this recognised but very difficult here in the UK.


Claire Jeyes
- Northampton, England
May 6, 2015

A. Hi Claire. Sorry for the issues your family members are experiencing. Apparently you want to imply that a chrome plating shop has something in common with an aluminium factory, but you haven't yet said what you think that is, and it's hard for people to guess what you're thinking.

As Trevor said, we're platers not doctors or epidemiologists, but it is known that chromic acid causes certain issues like chrome ulcers on the hands, and septum perforation. It is considered a carcinogen in the USA, and the relationship between health and exposure to chromic acid has been studied constantly and in depth since 1928. But any relationship between Parkinson's and chrome plating is apparently unknown at this point. These things are very difficult because people who have had nothing to do with chrome plating also get the same diseases, and it's a matter of difficult statistics to establish that people who have done chrome plating get Parkinson's more frequently; and even if we establish that, the 'causal' relationship is not established; as a simple example, more men than women work in chrome plating shops, so before we even start, we have to decide whether men & women must be studied as different groups or whether they get Parkinson's at identical rates. My sympathies to you, but such studies can seem interminable because they are so difficult.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 2015

Q. I came across this site, after my father developed Parkinsons. He was manager of electroplating in Legrand for around 20 years. As we didn't have any other case of Parkinson in our family, I thought his Parkinson may have been triggered due to his contact with chemicals, such as sulfuric acid, and metals such as chrome, nickel, etc.

Marco Tava
Professor - Portugal
January 8, 2024

A. Hi Marco. Very sorry to hear of your father's condition, but no knowledge is likely to be gained by speculation and anecdotes.

Hundreds of thousands of people have also spent their lifetimes in electroplating without getting Parkinsons' disease. There are medical experts and epidemiologists trying to establish correlations between Parkinsons' and environmental factors, and hopefully there will be a breakthrough soon.
Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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