How can chromium affect human health?

Skin contact with Cr-VI can cause inflammation, eczema, open sores and permanent sensitization that causes a skin condition called allergic contact dermatitis (ACD). Eczema and ACD have been found in populations exposed to environmental chromium contamination.

Ingestion of large amounts of Cr-VI can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach and intestine damage, anemia, kidney and liver damage. Cr-VI ingestion has been linked to a number of cancers2 and is starting to be considered a likely human carcinogen. Many of these affects have been observed in populations exposed to chromium contaminated drinking water.

Breathing in Cr-III and Cr-VI can irritate the nose, throat and lungs and produce inflammation. Cr-VI inhalation during chromium industrial work is known to cause nosebleeds, ulcers and holes in the septum (structure between your nostrils), asthma, lung cancer, sinonasal cancer and possibly other cancers. Breathing Cr-VI seems to be the most dangerous route of exposure. General population exposure to chromium contaminated soils has been linked to lung cancer.

Very few studies exist regarding potential reproductive and development effects on humans. Links between chromium exposure in the workplace and decreased sperm production and health have been documented. Informal observations have noted a high  number of birth defects and pregnancy complications in people exposed to chromium


4 thoughts on “How can chromium affect human health?”

  1. Marina Glibbery

    I am totally against living through another nightmare like I and all Coniston residents endured when Inco had the smelter working all those years in Coniston. Thankfully the smelter was closed and we could start breathing clean air again after suffering through the sulfer era.I am 82 yrs old and DO NOT WANT TO GO THROUGH THAT AGAIN.Trees died as well as growing grass and it was near impossible to grow fresh vegetables without covering them at night to protect the garden from the fallout.God forbid a repeat of that experience,,Men died long before their time,lived with lung disease and allergies and we know children need protection for good health and growth.Pregnant women will suffer,as will their babies. I am totally against this .

  2. The land was almost devoid of all vegetation after the Smelter closed.The greenery projects and reseeding of the last many years,have made Coniston a place to be proud of again.The sulfur came;not from only the Smelter here but from Falconbridge and on a good west wind from CopperCliff.When I was a teenager the oldtimers of INCO used to joke ” I saw a grasshopper going across town and it was carrying a lunchpail. ” My Dad picked blue berries behind his house as a kid in the 1930’s.In the last 10 years he has picked berries again in Coniston.The greenery has a long way to go yet.Do not let it regress back to what it was in the INCO days.The City of Greater Sudbury wants the the new arena downtown.Instead put the cromite smelter there.See how well that will be accepted.

  3. Well put, Dan. I can’t agree more. The Coniston area has slowly healed and become a lovely place to relax and unwind for the day. I had relatives visiting from overseas last summer and they marvelled at the natural beauty at our doorstep.

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