Posted: 31 Jan '18

How to Protect Your Workplace from Potential Exposure to Hexavalent Chrome


Chromium is present in many workplace materials and is typically used for its unique chemical properties that make it resistant to heat and corrosion. You probably have chromium-containing materials in your home - as anything finished with a metal spray or coating - such as stainless steel - will contain chromium. Of course, these objects are not inherently harmful; however, certain workplace operations can release chromium into the air - which is where it becomes dangerous. In its hexavalent form, hexavalent chrome is an extremely volatile chemical that workers should be protected from.

Dangers of Hexavalent Chrome

When inhaled, airborne hexavalent chromium has a disastrous effect on the respiratory tract and can exacerbate or cause medical complications including asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, and innumerable other respiratory complications. Unfortunately for industrial workers, research shows that the rates of respiratory diseases are significantly higher in individuals who are subjected to high exposures of hexavalent chrome. Therefore, it is crucial for foremen and worksite managers to take every precaution possible to drastically reduce or eliminate the potential for hexavalent chrome to become airborne and therefore become a threat to employees and those who may breathe the air around the work site.

Fighting Hexavalent Chromium at the Source

The best way to combat hexavalent chromium is to eliminate the potential for exposure. This is accomplished by filtering and dispersing it at its source - which is usually during hot work operations like smelting and welding. In addition, metal and thermal spraying are a source of airborne hexavalent chromium and must be filtered to ensure those not wearing protective respirators are not exposed. Because these activities are usually localized, it often only takes a small ventilation system to effectively filter hexavalent chrome from the air and keep your workplace safe. However, it's important to note that some manufacturing procedures produce unique and dangerous particulates that may require a custom-made filter that is tailored to filtering the dangerous by-products.

IVS is dedicated to protecting you, your employees, and the environment. To ensure our success, our passionate and knowledgeable filtration experts work with you to analyze your workplace and unique operations to determine an optimal filtration plan. Remember, the best way to combat the dangers of hexavalent chromium is to beat it at its source. Contact IVS today for more information on how you can prevent hexavalent chrome exposure.