Chromium poisoning at work may occur without protective equipment. Chromium is not synthetic and is found in the environment lie in the air, water, soil, and foodstuff. This substance is also utilized in various industries such as chemical and metallurgic businesses. It is used as component for metal finishes, production of alloy, steel, electroplating, and stabilizers for wood products. Individuals who have been exposed to jobs that handle chromium and those who make use of items containing the mineral can be at risk for poisoning by this substance.
Forms of chromium
The forms of chromium are available in the environment. They are typically combined with translucent dust particles which make it possible for the mineral to remain in soil and water, or the air.
Trivalent chromium (Cr III) – is a form of chromium that is necessary for the normal processes of the body. It assists in the metabolism process of proteins, fats, and sugar to be converted into energy for the body. It is also helpful in keeping the levels of blood sugar in the body. It assists the body for insulin to function more efficiently.
Hexavalent chromium (Cr IV) – is another form of chromium but it is the toxic type. It is known to cause severe health conditions. As this mineral in toxic form goes inside the body system, the body will react which will bring about a by-product or carcinogen known as Cr V. It has the capability to adhere to any type of cell and tissue inside the body. Eventually, it develops to become cancerous cell.
People at risk
Chromium mixed with other components is usually found in old material goods like wool, silk, pigments for pottery and painting, in preserving wood. This mineral is also a very important element or catalyst in chemical industries. Hence, chromium poisoning can occur in the workplace if required protective equipment is not properly used. Exposure can take place by inhaling dust particles, through dermal contact with liquefied solutions or even solids. It can also be ingested by consuming foods, drinks, and smoking cigarette inside places wherein chromium is being utilized. The general public may also be exposed when there are spills or insufficient safety measures in discarding waste and incineration processes.
If a person thinks he had been exposed to chromium, it is important to consult a physician as soon as possible. There are basic diagnostic and physical examinations that can be done to determine if a person has been affected by the toxic mineral. In addition, treatment is necessary to impede any further damage to the body the toxic chemical may cause. Symptoms are not as apparent for minor chronic poisoning. This can be confirmed through blood test, urine test, and liver test.
Symptoms of Chromium Poisoning
Chromium poisoning can result to certain symptoms contingent to the levels, concentration, or duration the person has been exposed to the mineral. When a person experiences the following symptoms indicated, it is a safe decision to have himself evaluated by a medical practitioner. One of the initial tests is toxic element exposure hair test.
- Nose bleed due to irritation
- Stomach problem
- Kidney problem
- Damage in the liver
- Ulcerations on the skin