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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: 0686 (used prior to 05/30/06 and the Chromium (VI) standard)

CAS number: 7738-94-5 (chromic acid)

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs

OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-2
(See also ANSI Z37-7-1971)

0.1 mg/m3 Ceiling

Note: This standard applies to any operations or sectors for which the exposure limit in the chromium (VI) standard (29 CFR 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
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
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
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards
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
NIOSH REL (applies to all Cr(VI) compounds including chromic acid, tert-butyl chromate, zinc chromate, and chromyl chloride) 0.0002 mg/m3 (8 hr TWA)
See Appendix A and Appendix C
HE2 -- cancer
HE9 -- asthmatic bronchitis
HE14 -- nasal septum perforation; severe irritation of the larynx, pharynx, and conjunctiva; skin ulceration
HE16 -- dermatitis
ACGIH TLV® (1991) 0.05 mg/m3 (water-soluble Cr VI compounds) TWA
CAL/OSHA PELs Not established  

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

Carcinogenic classification:

  • NTP: Not listed
  • IARC: Not listed
  • EPA: Not listed

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): Not established

NIOSH 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).

Partial reference list:

  • 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.

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