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.
CAS No. 18540-29-9
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.”
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 hexavalent 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.
- NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Chromium
- NIOSH Criteria Document: Criteria for a Recommendation Standard for an Occupational Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium – DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-128 (2013). This report increases awareness and recommends work practices to reduce exposures to hexavalent chromium.
- NIOSH Criteria Document: Criteria for a Recommended Standard: Welding, Brazing, and Thermal Cutting – DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 88-110 (1988). Welders are at an increased risk for lung cancer, among other illnesses. Fumes containing various chemicals including hexavalent chromium contribute to these risks. This report increases awareness and recommends work practices to reduce exposures.
- NIOSH Comments on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Request for Information on Occupational Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium
- NIOSH Docket 144: Hexavalent Chromium Criteria Document
- ATSDR ToxFAQs for Chromium VI (En español)
- ATSDR Toxicological Profile for Chromium
- EPA Toxicological Review of Hexavalent Chromium
- EPA Chemistry Dashboard: Hexavalent Chromium
- EPA Integrated Risk Information System Information (IRIS) on Chromium (VI)
- EPA SW-846 Test Method 0061: Determination of Hexavalent Chromium Emissions from Stationary Sources
- NLM Haz-Map: Chromium Hexavalent
- NLM Hazardous Substance Data Bank: Chromium
- NTP Report on Carcinogens (Fourteenth Edition): Hexavalent Chromium
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Health Effects of Hexavalent Chromium
- OSHA Guidance: Preventing Skin Problems from Working with Portland Cement
- OSHA Hazard Communication Standard
- OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Hexavalent Chromium
- OSHA Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards
- RAIS Toxicity Profile: Chromium
- New Jersey Hazardous Substance Fact Sheets: Chromium