OSHA Booklet Outlines Hexavalent Chromium Standards, Dangers

OSHA recently published Hexavalent Chromium, a booklet outlining industry requirements for hexavalent chromium standards. The publication examines how workers exposed to this toxic chemical can develop lung cancer and damage to the nose, throat, and respiratory system.

Inhaling the chemical’s fumes can cause allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, the booklet notes. Hexavalent chromium is used in pigments, metal finishing, wood preservatives, and fungicides. Workers may also be exposed to hexavalent chromium fumes generated during welding of chromium metal alloys.

“Hexavalent chromium is a powerful lung carcinogen and exposure to this chemical must be minimized,” said OSHA chief David Michaels. “OSHA provides guidance on its standards to ensure that employers and workers know the best ways to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.”

The booklet explains OSHA’s hexavalent chromium standards in a reader-friendly format and is a companion document to the Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards published in 2006. Requirements for exposure limits, exposure monitoring and determination, protective work clothing and equipment, medical surveillance, communication of hexavalent chromium hazards, and recordkeeping are described.

To download or read the 32-page pdf version of the publication, go to www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA-3373-hexavalent-chromium.pdf.

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