Chromium is an odourless, hard, steel-grey coloured metal that takes a high polish. The principal ore from which chromium is extracted is chromate. Chromium has three main forms - metallic chromium (0), chromium (III) and chromium (VI). Chromium (III) occurs naturally in the environment and is an essential dietary nutrient. Metallic chromium (0) and chromium (VI) are produced by industrial processes.
Common name: Chromium, Cr.
The major use of chromium is as an essential alloy in stainless steel. Chromium is also used to form parts of jet engines and for dyes and pigments, chrome plating, leather tanning and wood preserving.
Releases to the environment
The largest man-made sources of chromium emissions to the environment are chemical manufacturing, the combustion of fossil fuels, waste incineration and steel making. A significant source is also glass production. Since chromium occurs as an element in the earth’s crust; releases to the environment also result from natural sources.
Impacts on the environment and human health
It is chromium (VI) that is the highly toxic chromium compound. Excessive exposure to chromium (VI) can lead to health effects and may cause cancer. Some chromium compounds are also toxic to aquatic life.
Chromium and its compounds are listed as priority hazardous substance in of the EU Water Framework Directive and in the Basel Convention controlling the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes. Furthermore chromium is on the EU-Commissions EPER list and listed in the PRTR Protocol under the Århus Convention.
CAS NO: 7440-47-3.