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Hexavalent Chromium

Hexavalent chromium exists in many forms among which are strontium chromate, lead chromate, zinc chromate, barium chromate, and calcium chromate, all of which are considered to be known human carcinogens. Welding of stainless steel is known to produce hexavalent chromium in the resulting fumes. The major target organ for hexavalent chromium compounds is the lung. The published literature is abundant with results of epidemiology studies describing the inhalation of hexavalent chromium compounds resulting in statistically significantly elevated risks for lung cancer. Most of these studies are described in chromate workers, but other studies show elevated risks of lung cancer in pigment workers and painters exposed to hexavalent chromium pigments. Also well described in the literature are studies which report hexavalent chromium as a mutagen and animal carcinogen. Clearly, the elements necessary to prove a causal connection between hexavalent chromium and lung cancer are easily found in the peer-reviewed literature. Aside from its carcinogenicity, hexavalent chromium is an allergen described as producing allergic contact dermatitis and upper respiratory sensitization including asthma. There are over 640 references in our hexavalent chromium database. Other toxic effects may be found in the selected references below.

Selected References

Akslen, L. A., Myking, A. O., Morkve, O., Gulsvik, A., Raithel, H. J. and Schaller, K. H.,, Increased content of chromium and nickel in lung tissues from patients with bronchial carcinoma. Pathology Research and Practice, 186(6), 717-722 (1990).

Angerer, J., Amin, W., Heinrich-Ramm, R., Szadkowski, D. and Lehnert, G., Occupational chronic exposure to metals. I. Chromium exposure of stainless steel welders-biological monitoring. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 59(5), 503-512 (1987).

Anttila, S., Kokkonen, P., Paakko, P., Rainio, P., Kalliomaki, P. L., Pallon, J., Malmqvist, K., Pakarinen, P., Nanto, V. and Sutinen, S., High concentrations of chromium in lung tissue from lung cancer patients. Cancer, 63(3), 467-473 (1989).

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Toxicological profile for chromium. US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR), 1-195, October (1993).

Aw, T. C., Clinical and epidemiological data on lung cancer at a chromate plant. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 26(1 Pt 2), S8-S12 (1997).

Axelsson, G. and Rylander, R., Environmental chromium dust and lung cancer mortality. Environmental Research, 23(2), 469-476 (1980).

Baetjer, A. M., Pulmonary carcinoma in chromate workers. I. A review of the literature and report of cases. Archives of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Medicine, 2(5), 487-504 (1950).

Becker, N., Cancer mortality among arc welders exposed to fumes containing chromium and nickel. Results of a third follow-up: 1989-1995. Journal of Occupational and Environ Medicine, 41(4), 294-303 (1999).

Bidstrup, P. L., Carcinoma of the lung in chromate workers. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 8, 302-305 (1951).

Bourne, H. G. and Yee, H. T., Occupational cancer in a chromate plant - an environmental appraisal. Industrial Medicine and Surgery, 19(12), 563-567 (1950).

Braver, E. R., Infante, P. and Chu, K., An analysis of lung cancer risk from exposure to hexavalent chromium. Teratogenesis Carcinogesis Mutagenesis, 5, 365-378 (1985).

Broch, C., Bronchial asthma due to chromium trioxide fume. Nordisk Medicin, 41, 996-997 (1949).

Cohen, M. D., Kargacin, B., Klein, C. B. and Costa, M., Mechanisms of chromium carcinogenicity and toxicity. Crittical Reviews in Toxicology, 23(3), 255-281 (1993).

Cole, P. and Rodu, B., Epidemiologic studies of chrome and cancer mortality: a seriesof meta-analyses. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 43(3), 225-231 (2005).

Costa, M., Potential hazards of hexavalent chromate in our drinking water. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 188(1), 1-5 (2003).

Crump, C,. Crump, K., Hack, E., Luippold, R., Mundt, K., Liebig, E., Panko, J., Paustenbach, D. and Proctor, D., Dose-response and risk assessment of airborne hexavalent chromium and lung cancer mortality. Risk Analysis, 23(6), 1147-1163 (2003).

Dannaker, C. J., White, I. R. and Rycroft, R. J. G., Long-term prognosis in occupational chromate allergy: an attempted 18-year follow-up study. Contact Dermatitis, 21(1), 59 (1989).

Davies, J., Lung cancer mortality of workers in chromate pigment manufacture. An epidemiological survey. Journal of the Oil and Colour Chemists Association, 62, 157-169 (1984).

Davies, J. M., Easton, D. F. and Bidstrup, P. L., Mortality from respiratory cancers and other causes in United Kingdom chromate production workers. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 48, 299-313 (1991).

Doll, R., Is cadmium a human carcinogen? Annals of Epidemiology, 2(3), 335-337 (1992).

Edmundson, W. F., Chrome ulcers of the skin and nasal septum and their relation to patch testing. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 17, 17-19 (1951).

Ellis, F. A., Occupational dermatoses in aircraft workers:  chromate dermatitis. Occupational Medicine, 2, 452- (1946).

Enterline, P. E., Respiratory cancer among chromate workers. Journal of Occupational Medicine, 16(8), 523-526 (1974).

Felter, S. P. and Dourson, M. L., Hexavalent chromium-contaminated soils: options for risk assessment and risk management. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 25, 43-59 (1996).

Frentzel-Beyme, R., Lung cancer mortality of workers employed in chromate pigment factories. A multicentric European epidemiological study. Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology, 105(2), 183-188 (1983).

Galvin, J. B. and Oberg, S. G., Toxicity of hexavalent chromium to the alveolar macrophage in vivo and in vitro. Environmental Research, 33(), 7-16 (1984).

Gray, C. N., Hexavalent chromium in welding fume and the role of ozone [letter]. Annals of  Occupational Hygiene, 31(2), 269-270 (1987).

Gross, E. and Koelsch, F., Lung cancer in the chromate dye industry. Archiv fur Gewerbepathologie und Gewerbehygiene, 12, 164-170 (1943).

Halbert, A. R., Gebauer, K. A. and Wall, L. M., Prognosis of occupational chromate dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis, 27(4), 214-219 (1992).

Hansen, M. B., Johansen, J. D. and Menne, T., Chromium allergy: significance of both Cr(III) and Cr(VI). Contact Dermatitis, 49(4), 206-212 (2003).

Hayes, R. B., Review of occupational epidemiology of chromium chemicals and respiratory cancer. Science of the Total Environment, 71(3), 331-339 (1988).

Hayes, R. B., Sheffet, A. and Spirtas, R., Cancer mortality among a cohort of chromium pigment workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 16(2), 127-133 (1989).

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Some metals and metallic compounds. Chromium and chromium compounds. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Humans, Volume 23, 205-323 (1980).

Imprescia, S., Bronchogenic carcinoma and chromates. Diseases of the Chest, 22, 347-355 (1950).

Kano, K., Horikawa, M., Utsunomiya, T., Tati, M., Satoh, K. and Yamaguchi, S., Lung cancer mortality among a cohort of male chromate pigment workers in Japan. International Journal of Epidemiology, 22(1), 16-22 (1993).

Kaplan, I. and Zeligman, I., Occupational dermatitis of railroad workers. Archives of Dermatology, 85, 135-142 (1962).

Kim, S., Iwai, Y., Fujino, M., Furumoto, M., Sumino, K. and Miyasaki, K., Chromium-induced pulmonary cancer.  Report of a case and a review of the literature. Acta Pathologica Japonica, 35(3), 643-654 (1985).

Korallus, V., Chromium compounds: occupational health, toxicological and biological monitoring aspects. Toxicology and Environmental Chemistry, 12, 47-59 (1986).

Langard, S. and Norseth, T., A cohort study of bronchial carcinomas in workers producing chromate pigments. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 32, 62-65 (1975).

Langard, S. and Vigander, T., Occurence of lung cancer in workers producing chromium pigments. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 40, 71-74 (1983).

Leonard, A. and Lauwerys, R. R., Carcinogenicity and mutagenicity of chromium. Mutation Research, 76, 227-239 (1980).

Lieberman, H., Chrome ulcerations of the nose and throat. New England Journal of Medicine, 225, 132-133 (1941).

Luippold, R. S., Mundt, K. A., Dell, L. D. and Birk, T., Low-level hexavalent chromium exposure and rate of mortality among US chromate production employees. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 47(4), 381-385 (2005).

Machle, W. and Gregorius, F., Cancer of the respiratory system in the United States chromate-producing industry. Public Health Reports, 63, 1114-1127 (1948).

Mancuso, T. F., Chromium as an industrial carcinogen. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 31(2), 129-139 (1997).

Moreton, J., Analysis for chromium in welding fume. The Welding Institute, 5510/43/79, 1-31 Abbington Hall, Abbington, Cambridge, May (1979).

Nishiyama, H., Yano, H., Nishiwaki, Y., Kitaya, T., Matsuyama, T., Kodama, T., Suemasu, K., Tamai, S. and Takemoto, K., Lung cancer in chromate workers--analysis of 11 cases. Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology, 15(3), 489-497 (1985).

Norseth, T., The carcinogenicity of chromium and its salts. British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43,649-651 (1986).

Norseth, T., The carcinogenicity of chromium. Environmental Health Perspectives, 40, 121-130 (1981).

Ohsaki, Y., Abe, S., Kimura, K., Tsuneta, Y., Mikami, H. and Murao, M., Lung cancer in Japanese chromate workers. Thorax, 33, 372-374 (1978).

Olaguibel, J. M. and Basomba, A., Occupational asthma induced by chromium salts. Allergologia et Immunopathologia, 17(3), 133-136 (1989).

Park, H. S., Yu, H. J. and Jung, K. S., Occupational asthma caused by chromium. Clinical and Experimental Allergy, 24(7), 676-681 (1994).

Park, R. M., Bena, J. F., Stayner, L. T., Smith, R. J., Gibb, H. J. and Lees, P. S., Hexavalent chromium and lung cancer in the chromate industry: a quantitative risk assessment. Risk Analysis, 24(5), 1099-1108 (2004).

Rosenman, K. D. and Standbury, M., Risk of lung cancer among former chromium smelter workers. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 29(5), 491-500 (1996).

Sheffet, A., Thind, I., Miller, A. M. and Louria, D. B., Cancer mortality in a pigment plant utilizing lead and zinc chromates. Archives of Environmental Health, 37(1), 44-52 (1982).

Sjogren, B., Gustavsson, A. and Hedstrom, L., Mortality in two cohorts of welders exposed to high- and low-levels of hexavalent chromium. Scandanavian Journal of Work and Environmental Health, 13(3), 247-251 (1987).

Steinhoff, D., Gad, S. C., Hatfield, G. K. and Mohr, U., Carcinogenicity study with sodium dichromate in rats. Experimental Pathology, 30(3), 129-141 (1986).

Trivedi, B., Saxena, D. K., Murthy, R. C. and Chandra, S. V., Embryotoxicity and fetotoxicity of orally administered hexavalent chromium in mice. Reproductive Toxicology, 3(4), 275-278 (1989).

US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Working Group, Health effects assessment for hexavalent chromium. US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), EPA/540/1-86/019, NTIS PB86-134301, 49 pages (1984).

Uyama, T., Monden, Y., Tsuyuguchi, M., Harada, K., Kimura, S. and Taniki, T., Lung cancer in chromate workers: high-risk group for multiple lung cancer. Journal of Surgery and Oncology, 41(4), 213-218 (1989).

Waterhouse, J. A. H., Cancer among chromium platers. British Journal of Cancer, 32, 262 (1975).

Wedeen RP . Qian L,, Chromium-induced kidney disease. Environmental Health Perspectives, 92, 71-74 (1991).

Williams, C. D., Asthma related to chromium compounds. North Carolina Medical Journal, 30, 482-491 (1969).

Zugerman, C., Chromium in welding fumes. Contact Dermatitis, 8(1), 69-70 (1982).

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