- 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.”
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.
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program (HHE) conducts onsite investigations of possible worker exposure to chemicals. Search the HHE database for more information on chromium.
- 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 Salts
- NIOSH Occupational Health Guidelines for Soluble Chromic and Chromous Salts (as Chromium)
- ATSDR ToxFAQs for Chromium
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Chromium
- ATSDR Case Studies in Environmental Medicine (CSEM)
- EPA Air Toxics: Chromium Compounds
- EPA Chemistry Dashboard: Chromium (Chromium Compounds)
- EPA Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS): Chromium (III)
- NLM Haz-Map: Chromium Metal and Chromium Compounds
- NLM Hazardous Substance Data Bank: Chromium
- OSHA Chemical Sampling Information
- OSHA Hazard Communication Standard
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Chromium
- RAIS Toxicity Profile: Chromium
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets: Chromium
- European Chemicals Agency (ECHA): Chromium
- Gestis Substance Database
- International Chemical Safety Card: Chromium
- International Chemical Safety Card: Chromium (VI) Oxide
- IPCS INCHEM: Chromium and Chromium (III) Compounds
- IPCS ICHEM Environmental Health Criteria 61: Chromium
- OECD Global Portal to Information on Chemical Substances
- Page last reviewed: June 26, 2018
- Page last updated: June 26, 2018
- Content source:
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division