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Chromic Acid and Chromates (as CrO3)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Varies by compound. Examples include ammonium dichromate, barium chromate, calcium chromate, lead chromate, potassium chromate, potassium dichromate, silver chromate, sodium chromate, sodium dichromate, strontium chromate, tert-butyl chromate, zinc chromate, and zinc dichromate.
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 0686 [IMIS Code history: used prior to 05/30/2006 and the Chromium (VI) standard]
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7738-94-5 (Chromic acid)
  • Department of Transportation Regulation Number (49 CFR 172.101) and 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook (PDF): 1755 154 (Chromic acid, solution)
  • NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Chromic Acid and Chromates: Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit Limit Values HE Codes Health Factors and Target Organs
  • 0.1 mg/m3
  • Ceiling
  • Note: This standard applies to any operations or sectors for which the exposure limit in the chromium (VI) standard (1910.1026) is stayed or otherwise not in effect.
HE14 Nasal septum perforation
HE16 Dermatitis
  • 0.005 mg/m3
  • TWA
  • Note: OSHA's chromium (VI) standard applies to all compounds of chromium (VI), including chromates and chromic acid.
HE2* Cancer
HE14 Eye irritation and skin sensitization
  • 0.1 mg/m3
  • TWA
HE2* Lung cancer
HE9 Chronic asthmatic bronchitis
HE14 Nasal septum perforation; irritation of the mucous membranes, larynx, pharynx, and conjunctiva
  • 0.1 mg/m3
  • TWA
HE2* Lung cancer
HE9 Chronic asthmatic bronchitis
HE14 Nasal septum perforation; irritation of the mucous membranes, larynx, pharynx, and conjunctiva
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)
  • See Appendix A and Appendix C
  • Note: The NIOSH REL is for all hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] compounds (including chromic acid, tert-butyl chromate, zinc chromate, and chromyl chloride).
  • 0.0002 mg/m3
  • (8 hr TWA)
HE2* Cancer
HE9 Asthmatic bronchitis
HE14 Nasal septum perforation; severe irritation of the larynx, pharynx, and conjunctiva; skin ulceration
HE16 Dermatitis

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV)

  • Not established


  • Not established

*Chromium (VI) compounds are OSHA designated carcinogens (HE1).

  • National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carcinogenic classification: Not listed
  • EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established
  • Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): Not established
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH) concentration: 15 mg/m3 [as Cr(VI)]
  • Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards
    1. Inflammation of oral structures; keratosis of the lips, gingival, and palate; gingivitis; and periodontis may be associated with chromate exposure (Gomes 1972).
    2. Chromate may have the potential to induce prostate injury through nonspecific inflammation (Wang et al. 2012).
  • Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012
  • Literature Basis:
    • ANSI: American Standard Allowable Concentration of Chromic Acid and Chromates. January 6, 1942 (reaffirmed January 27, 1971).
    • ATSDR: Toxicological profile for chromium. September 2012.
    • Gomes E.: Incidence of chromium-induced lesions among electroplating workers in Brazil. Ind Med 41(12):21-25. 1972.
    • NIOSH: Draft Criteria Document Update - Occupational Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium. September 2008.
    • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Chemical Hazards - Chromic Acid and Chromates. September 1978.
    • OSHA: Standard Interpretation - Enforcement of the Chromate and Chromic Acid PEL. April 8, 1991 (edited on March 25, 2008).
    • Wang, T.C., Jia, G., Song, Y.S., Zhang, J., Ma, Y.H., Feng, W.Y., Liu, L.Z., Zhang, N., Zhou, J.W., Yan, L., Zhen, S., Qian, Q.: Effects of chronic chromate exposure on human serum prostate specific antigen: a cross sectional study. Ind Health. 50(2):95-102, 2012.

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

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