- 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. It is harmful to the skin, eyes, blood, and respiratory system. Workers may be harmed from exposure to chromium and its compounds. 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.”
The NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards (NPG) helps workers, employers, and occupational health professionals recognize and control workplace chemical hazards.
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.
- NIOSHTIC-2 search results on chromium—NIOSHTIC-2 is a searchable database of worker safety and health publications, documents, grant reports, and journal articles supported in whole or in part by NIOSH.
- NIOSH Worker Health Study Summaries—NIOSH conducts research to prevent illnesses and injuries in the workplace. The NIOSH Worker Notification Program notifies workers and other stakeholders about the findings of these research studies.
- Documentation for Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH) Values—NIOSH reviews relevant scientific data and researches methods for developing IDLH values.
- NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Hexavalent Chromium
- Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Welding, Brazing, and Thermal Cutting—DHHS (NIOSH) No. 88-110 (1988). Welders generally have a 40% increase in relative risk of developing lung cancer as a result of their work exposures. The risk of lung cancer for workers who weld on stainless steel appears to be associated with exposure to fumes that contain nickel and chromium. This report increases awareness and recommends work practices to reduce exposures.
- NIOSH Occupational Health Guidelines for Chromium Metal and Insoluble Chromium Saltspdf icon
- NIOSH Occupational Health Guidelines for Soluble Chromic and Chromous Salts (as Chromium)pdf icon
- ATSDR ToxFAQs for Chromium
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Chromium
- ATSDR Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (CSEM)
- EPA Air Toxics: Chromium Compoundspdf iconexternal icon
- EPA Chemistry Dashboard: Chromiumexternal icon (Chromium Compoundsexternal icon)
- EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS): Chromium (III)external icon
- NLM Haz-Map: Chromium Metal and Chromium Compoundsexternal icon
- NLM Hazardous Substance Data Bank: Chromiumexternal icon
- OSHA Chemical Sampling Informationexternal icon
- OSHA Hazard Communication Standardexternal icon
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Chromiumexternal icon
- RAIS Toxicity Profile: Chromiumexternal icon
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets: Chromiumpdf iconexternal icon
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Chromiumexternal icon
- Gestis Substance Databaseexternal icon
- International Chemical Safety Card: Chromiumexternal icon
- International Chemical Safety Card: Chromium (VI) Oxideexternal icon
- IPCS INCHEM: Chromium and Chromium (III) Compoundsexternal icon
- IPCS ICHEM Environmental Health Criteria 61: Chromiumexternal icon
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substancesexternal icon