Powered by GoogleTranslate

Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent Chromium - collage of five images [Welder Image = iStock.com – 591850358 / Copyright: PJ66431470 | electroplating bath = Copyright:Niosh | Maintenance of Bridge = iStock.com – 471544781 /Copyright: narvikk | Painting plane = Copyright: U.S. Air Force | Stainless steel pipes = iStock.com – 538025236 / Copyright: Rost-9D]
Hexavalent Chromium Menu

Overview

Highlights

Related Safety and Health Topics

Industry Profile (Sector) - Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

Industry Profile (Subcategory) - Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is one of the valence states (+6) of the element chromium. It is usually produced by an industrial process. Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. Chromium metal is added to alloy steel to increase hardenability and corrosion resistance. A major source of worker exposure to Cr(VI) occurs during "hot work" such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal. Cr(VI) compounds may be used as pigments in dyes, paints, inks, and plastics. It also may be used as an anticorrosive agent added to paints, primers, and other surface coatings. The Cr(VI) compound chromic acid is used to electroplate chromium onto metal parts to provide a decorative or protective coating.

Who is exposed to hexavalent chromium?

It is estimated that 558,000 workers are potentially exposed to Cr(VI) in the United States. Workers in a variety of occupations are potentially exposed to Cr(VI). Workplace exposures occur mainly in the following areas:

  • Welding and other types of "hot work" on stainless steel and other metals that contain chromium
  • Use of pigments, spray paints and coatings
  • Operating chrome plating baths
Where is exposure to hexavalent chromium occurring?

Industrial processes that involve chromium can result in worker exposure to toxic hexavalent chromium. OSHA provides a publicly available Chemical Exposure Health Database which includes industrial hygiene sample results from OSHA inspections. This database does not include worksite inspection sample results from many of the 26 States that operated OSHA-approved State Plans or OSHA consultation visits. This data provides a snapshot of industry sectors and business subcategories where levels of airborne Cr(VI) have been found. The industry profile tables in this website are based on Cr(VI) air samples taken during OSHA inspections from 2006 to 2009. While the tables represent only a small fraction of the total number of companies in their respective industries, the results can provide insight into where workplace Cr(VI) exposure is occurring in the United States.

Standards

Requirements to protect workers from Cr(VI) exposure are addressed in specific OSHA standards for General Industry, Shipyard Employment, and Construction.

More

Enforcement

Highlights OSHA directives (instruction to OSHA staff) and letters of interpretation (official letters of interpretation of the standards) related to hexavalent chromium.

More

Health Effects

Discusses the adverse health effects associated with Cr(VI).

More

Exposure and Controls

Provides information on exposure limits and analytical methods used to evaluate hexavalent chromium exposure.

More

Additional Resources

Provides links and references to additional resources related to hexavalent chromium.

More

Workers' Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary the worker understands) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA's rules. OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation, including reporting an injury or raising health and safety concerns with their employer or OSHA. If a worker has been retaliated against for using their rights, they must file a complaint with OSHA as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days.

For additional information, see OSHA's Workers page.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627.

Highlights

Related Safety and Health Topics

Industry Profile (Sector) - Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

Industry Profile (Subcategory) - Hexavalent Chromium Exposure

Back to Top

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.

Close