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Hexavalent Chromium


CAS No. 18540-29-9

Hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) compounds are a large group of chemicals with varying properties, uses, and workplace exposures. Hexavalent chromium is harmful to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system. NIOSH considers all Cr(VI) compounds to be occupational carcinogens. Workers may be harmed from exposure to hexavalent chromium. The level of exposure depends upon the dose, duration, and work being done.

Hexavalent chromium is used in many industries. It’s used in electroplating, welding, and chromate painting. Some examples of workers at risk of being exposed to hexavalent chromium include the following:

  • Welders working with carbon and stainless steel welding
  • Steel mill workers in iron and steel foundries
  • Workers who work with or near wet cement
  • Employees working in the electroplating, wood preservation, or textile dyeing industries

NIOSH recommends that employers use Hierarchy of Controls to prevent injuries. If you work in an industry that uses hexavalent chromium, 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 hexavalent chromium. Useful search terms for hexavalent chromium include “chromate” and “chrome six.”

NIOSH Chemical Resources

Logo of 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.

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

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

Related NIOSH Resources

Selected Publications

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International Resources

Page last reviewed: June 26, 2018

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