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Chromium

Overview

Chromium metal CAS No. 7440-47-3

Chromium acid CAS No. 1333-82-0

Chromium metal (Cr) is a bluish to steel-gray brittle solid, often seen in gray powder form that burns if flame heated. Chromium is also found in chromic acid (CrO3), chromium compounds, and chromates. Workers may be harmed from exposure to chromium and its compounds. It is harmful to the skin, eyes, blood, and respiratory system. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Chromium is used in many industries. It’s used in stainless steel and chrome plating, steel manufacture, paint pigments, leather tanning, and some heat-resistant applications. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to chromium include the following:

  • Service workers who maintain copy machines and are exposed to toner inks
  • Workers involved in the manufacture of steel
  • Cement workers and those who work in cement-producing manufacturers
  • Workers exposed to chromium-based pigmented paints or tanning dyes

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses chromium-based compounds, please read chemical labels and the accompanying Safety Data Sheet for hazard information. Visit NIOSH’s page on Managing Chemical Safety in the Workplace to learn more about controlling chemical workplace exposures.

The following resources provide information about occupational exposure to chromium. Useful search terms for chromium include “chrome,” “elemental chromium,” and “chromium metal.”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

Logo of NIOSH Pocket Guide

NIOSH Pocket Guide

The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.

Logo of Manual of Analytical Methods.

Manual of Analytical Methods

The NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM) is a collection of methods for sampling and analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

Logo of Health Hazard Evaluations consisting of three letters: HHE

Health Hazard Evaluations

The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on chromium.

Related NIOSH Resources

Selected Publications

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International Resources

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