Duke University scientist concludes Chromium 6 contamination widespread in  NC, but not from Duke Energy | The Progressive Pulse

Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] is one of the valence states (+6) of the element chromium. It is usually produced by an industrial process. Cr(VI) is known to cause cancer. In addition, it targets the respiratory system, kidneys, liver, skin and eyes. Chromium metal is added to alloy steel to increase hardenability and corrosion resistance. A major source of worker exposure to Cr(VI) occurs during “hot work” such as welding on stainless steel and other alloy steels containing chromium metal. Cr(VI) compounds may be used as pigments in dyes, paints, inks, and plastics. It also may be used as an anticorrosive agent added to paints, primers, and other surface coatings. The Cr(VI) compound chromic acid is used to electroplate chromium onto metal parts to provide a decorative or protective coating.

Hexavalent chromium compounds are almost always man-made and are used in a variety of industries. Some of the prominent uses of hexavalent chromium in industry include chromate pigments in dyes, inks, and plastics, chrome-plating in which chromium metal is deposited on a surface using chromic acid and chromates used to prevent corrosion in paints, primers and other coatings. Hexavalent chromium is essential to a number of industrial applications: chromate pigments are used in dyes, ink and plastics, chromic acid is used in chrome plating and chromates are used to prevent corrosion in paints and other coatings. While these compounds can be very beneficial, they can also be harmful or lethal to those employees exposed to them.

Hexavalent Chromium 6 is a toxic form of chromium metal used in many industrial applications, primarily for its anti-corrosive properties. May be generated during welding on stainless steel or metal coated with chromate paint. Used in electroplating (chrome plating).

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