SiAl BV Consultants & Managers | Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent Chromium-containing compounds are compounds with hexavalent chromium and, for example, oxygen or hydrogen. Hexavalent Chromium cannot exist on its own under normal circumstances but is always bound to other atoms such as oxygen. After binding, Hexavalent Chromium mainly occurs as chromates and dichromats. We call this a Hexavalent Chromium compound. Certain Hexavalent Chromium compounds, for example, are added to paint to prevent surface corrosion after application.
In addition to working with these concentrated substances, Hexavalent Chromium can also be released during processing of materials in which Hexavalent Chromium has been processed, such as sanding chromium-containing paint layers on, for example, cars or airplanes, welding certain forms of stainless steel and sawing with Hexavalent Chromium impregnated wood.

During the latter operations, Hexavalent Chromium can be released encapsulated in (fine) dust particles. If the Hexavalent Chromium is stuck in paint on a surface, it is not harmful to health. The Hexavalent Chromium can be released when working on the surface.

Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium can have serious health consequences. It can cause lung, nasal and paranasal sinus, stomach, and laryngeal cancer. In addition to cancer, it can also cause respiratory allergies and chronic lung diseases, piercing of the nasal septum due to chromium ulcers and allergic contact dermatitis. It is not yet clear whether exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in the workplace can cause adverse effects on reproduction and the development of the unborn child.