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What Is Hexavalent Chromium?
Hexavalent chromium is a chemical compound that is used in the manufacturing process for stainless steel. Welding, grinding and sanding materials that are coated with chromium can create hexavalent chromium fumes. Some of these materials include stainless steel, carbon steel with high carbon content and galvanized steel. Hexavalent chromium fumes must be filtered at the source, before they can be inhaled by workers.
Serious Health Effects
Hexavalent chromium fumes, also known as “hex chrome” fumes, have the potential to cause a range of serious respiratory tract problems. The fumes and dust are carcinogenic, and repeated exposure can produce health effects that include:
- Occupational asthma
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Skin ulcers
- Eye irritation and damage
- Kidney damage
- Liver damage
- Pulmonary congestion
- Abdominal pain
- Lung cancer
Are You at Risk?
If your work environment includes hexavalent chromium as a by-product of welding, grinding or sanding applications, it’s important to find a filtration solution that will remove the fumes at the source, before workers are exposed. Factors such as the length of exposure, the type of material being used and level of protection all play significant roles in how much of a risk your workplace happens to be.
Workplace Solutions to Prevent Exposure
At Diversitech, we have several filtration and ventilation solutions designed to keep your workplace clear of hexavalent chromium and its devastating effects. Whether it is a high quality downdraft booth, convenient portable fume extractors or reliable downdraft tables, we have a solution that will remove hex chrome fumes from the equation and allow your workers to continue producing high quality work in a safe environment.
All of our hexavalent chromium filtration and ventilation products meet required regulatory guidelines, and we are always here to help. When you contact us today, one of our team members will work with you and help guide you through the process of finding the most reliable and practical air pollution solution for your workplace.
In 2006, OSHA dramatically overhauled regulations dealing with Hexavalent Chromium exposure hazards. In summary, the changes are:
- Reduction in the personal exposure limit (PEL) from 52 micrograms to 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air on an 8 hour time-weighted average
- Provisions for preferred methods for controlling exposure: Capture-at-Source
- Provisions for protective work clothing, equipment, hygiene, respiratory protection, medical surveillance, hazard communication, and record keeping
For more information on OSHA regulations, visit OSHA Resources: Hexavalent Chromium.