Chromium is a two faced substance. Trivalent Chromium is naturally occurring and, according to experts, required for good health. Reports indicate that 70 to 80 micrograms a day of Chromium, found naturally in some foods, is considered to be a safe and appropriate part of our diet.
Trivalent Chromium, the good faced chromium, is used in homes and offices to make flooring materials, videotapes and other regular commodities. We like Trivalent Chromium.
But then there is the bad faced Chromium, which is technically referred to as Hexavelent Chromium. Scientists also call it Chromium VI.
Unlike the good kind, Hexavelent Chromium is not naturally occurring. It is, rather, the product of various industrial processes, many of which took place in the early 1900s.
If you remember the film Erin Brokovich, it was Hexavelent Chromium that was the substance which formed the basis of the lawsuit that ultimately won Erin a brand new car. In short, Hexavelent Chromium is dangerous.
It is the most toxic form of Chromium, known to cause lung cancer where there is heavy exposure and may be linked to other illnesses as well.
I have personally seen buildings impacted by Hexavelent Chromium. There is a portion of Northern New Jersey where wetlands were historically filled with Hexavelent Chromium waste so that construction could occur on the filled wetlands.
Now, many decades later, environmental officials are in the process of cleaning the Chromium below these buildings because now we understand just how dangerous this bi-product can be.
Hexavelent Chromium can actually leach through concrete. When it has saturated a concrete floor, it can take on an eerily greenish hue. Those near the Chromium may become exposed by inadvertently breathing, eating, drinking, or touching it. Toxicologists are most concerned with the inhalation risks.
If you believe you have been exposed to Chromium and are concerned about your health, there are tests that can determine whether there has been exposure. Since Chromium is eliminated from the body within a short period, testing should occur within the shortest time period possible after probable exposure.