Hexavalentchromium or Cr(IV) is considered to be a highly toxic chemical, but it is stillin use. People can get exposed to this man-made chemical in industrial environment,especially if they come in the touch and inhale dust, mist or chromium fumes. Everyoneworking in processes that include thermal cutting, making stainless steel orchrome plating can be exposed to chromium. Removal or application of the paintcontaining chromate or working in production of chromic acid or chromatepigments can also cause chromium exposure.
The effectsof hexavalent chromium to your health, if you have been in contact with thissubstance, will depend on your health, time of exposure and the concentrationof hexavalent chromium you have been exposed to. Depending on the part of yourbody that came into contact with this toxic substance, you can experiencedamage to your eyes, nose, throat, skin, lungs or other parts of the respiratorysystem.
Working withhexavalent chromium requires safety measures at all times. Adequate clothes andequipment are necessity for people handling this toxic substance, as well asregular check-ups at the doctors. Proper treatment of any medical problem thatappeared is a must under these circumstances.
Inhaling Hexavalent Chromium
Inhaling chromiumusually causes mild symptoms. High concentrations of hexavalent chromium cancause breathing problems, runny nose, sneezing and coughing. Nosebleeds, redeyes and itchiness of the eyes and nose are frequent problems. People exposedto this chemical can also complain about irritation and burning in the throat. Therewere some reported allergic reactions to hexavalent chromium, which included wheezing,shortness of breath and some other signs and symptoms of asthma.
Direct SkinContact with Chromium
Skin contactwith hexavalent chromium may cause swelling, skin rashes, itching and redness. Thistype of skin reaction is not a mild one, and can be induced by handling theliquid or solid chromium which came into direct contact with the skin. People allergicto this substance will experience extensive skin reaction even if their skinwas exposed to chromium just for a moment. Others may also suffer from opensores caused by hexavalent chromium, which usually heals very slowly, leavingscars.
Long-TermExposure to Hexavalent Chromium
After sometime, exposure to hexavalent chromium can also cause perforation of the wallbetween the nasal passages, or perforated eardrums. Cancers such as sinus, lungand nasal cancers are associated with the inhalation or ingestion of hexavalentchromium, and these are the worst case scenario after the exposure to this verytoxic substance.