fire extinguisher picwelder picspacerbonner's safety service logoforklift piclock pic
spacerYour Key to Safety Consulting & Training!

contact buttonnewsletters buttonosha buttonservice buttonhearing buttontraining button




Hexavalent Chromium

Calcium chromate, chromium trioxide, lead chromate, strontium chromate, and zinc chromate are known human carcinogens. An increase in the incidence of lung cancer has been observed among workers in industries that produce chromate and manufacture pigments containing chromate.

Workers in many different occupations are exposed to hexavalent chromium . Occupational exposures occur mainly among workers who handle pigments containing dry chromate, spray paints and coatings containing chromate, operate chrome plating baths, and weld or cut metals containing chromium, such as stainless steel.

Health Effects

Workers who breathe hexavalent chromium compounds at their jobs for many years may be at increased risk of developing lung cancer. Breathing high levels o hexavalent chromium can irritate or damage the nose, throat, and lungs. Irritation or damage to the eyes and skin can occur if hexavalent chromium contacts these organs in high concentrations or for a prolonged


Direct eye contact with chromic acid or chromate dusts can cause permanent eye damage.

Respiratory Tract

Hexavalent chromium can irritate the nose, throat, and lungs. Repeated or prolonged exposure can damage the mucous membranes of the nasal passages and result in ulcers. In severe cases, exposure causes perforation of the septum (the wall separating the nasal passages). Breathing small amounts of hexavalent chromium even for long periods does not cause respiratory tract irritation in most people. Some employees become allergic to hexavalent chromium so that inhaling the chromate compounds can cause asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.


Prolonged skin contact can result in dermatitis and skin ulcers. Some workers develop an allergic sensitization to chromium. In sensitized workers, contact with even small amounts can cause a serious skin rashentire buildings. Such incidents have killed scores of employees and injured hundreds over the past few decades.


All forms of hexavalent chromium are regarded as carcinogenic to workers. The risk of developing lung cancer increases with the amount of hexavalent chromium inhaled and the length of time the worker is exposed. Studies of workers in chromate production, chromate pigment, and chrome electroplating industries employed before the 1980s show increased rates of lung cancer mortality. Certain hexavalent chromium compounds produced lung cancer in animals that had the compounds placed directly in their lungs.

OSHA Training

Please see our section on training for our available OSHA training courses offered.

OSHA Compliance

For more information on our OSHA compliance program, please contact one of our professional staff.

OSHA Regulations

For more detailed information on OSHA regulations, please contact one of our trained experts or see OSHA's webite for more details.





Bonner's Safety Service, Inc, 914 E-1 Highway 43, Saraland. AL  36571 / 251-675-5903 / Fax 251-675-0909
©  All Rights Reserved, 2010 ®