Chromium occurs naturally in the environment , predominantly in two variations: chromium III and chromium VI. Chromium III is an essential dietary mineral. Hexavalent chromium (or Cr VI) is often created through industrial processes and is toxic.
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Chromium VI is a known human carcinogen. Its effects typically target the respiratory system, but the kidneys and other internal organs may also be affected.

Manufacturers use chromium in metals, chemicals and refractories. Factory workers may use chromium to harden iron and steel, and produce stainless steel. Other applications include metal plating and leather processing.

Those who work in certain industries may be particularly at risk, such as welding, and those using pigments, spray paints and surface coatings.

Dangers of Inhalation Exposure

People who have been exposed to chromium often develop short- or long-term breathing problems.

Acute Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Chronic Complications

Along with these symptoms, often come potential medical complications:

  • Perforations and ulcerations of the septum
  • Bronchitis
  • Decreased pulmonary function
  • Pneumonia
  • Cancer

If you believe that you may have been exposed to this carcinogen in your workplace, you may want look into your legal options.

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