Noncarcinogenic Effects of Chromium: Update to Health Assessment Document

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This 1990 document updates the 1984 Health Assessment Document for Chromium by addressing issues regarding noncarcinogenic health effects of chromium: oxidation states and persistence of these states in the environment, sampling and analytical methodology to differentiate these oxidation states and amounts at submicrogram ambient air levels, the degree of human exposure to chromium in the environment, both short-term and long-term, reduction of Cr (VI) to Cr (III), and effects from environmentally relevant levels on pulmonary function and renal function. rivalent chromium is chemically stable; Cr (VI) is readily reduced to Cr (III). xidation state of chromium in ambient air depends on proximity to sources emitting one form over the other. eliable monitoring methods to speciate oxidation states at ambient air levels below 1 ug/m3 are not available. mbient levels of total chromium (obtained from EPA's National Air Data Branch) range from a high of 0.6 ug/m3 to below the detection limit of 0.005 ug/m3. Reduction of hexavalent chromium occurs in several organ systems and therefore, small amounts of inhaled Cr (VI) will be reduced before systemic absorption can occur. rivalent chromium is an essential trace metal which potentiates actions of insulin-mediated glucose transport. r (VI) exposure at 1 to 2 ug/m3 causes reddening of nasal septal ulceration and perforation. ulmonary function changes in vital capacity and forced expiratory volume at 1 sec. are observed with exposure >2 ug/m3. hanges in renal function (probably reversible) have been observed at exposures as low as 2 to 4 ug/m3. ith increasing age, lungs accumulate Cr (III) which has been reduced from Cr (VI).


Victery, W., S. Lee, P. Mushak, AND M. Piscator. Noncarcinogenic Effects of Chromium: Update to Health Assessment Document. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/8-87/048F (NTIS PB91136523).

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