Toxic effects of chromium and its compounds

Biol Trace Elem Res. 1992 Jan-Mar:32:145-53. doi: 10.1007/BF02784599.


Chromium was discovered in 1797 by Vauquelin. Numerous industrial applications raised chromium to a very important economic element. At the same time, with the development of its uses, the adverse effects of chromium compounds in human health were being defined. Trivalent chromium is an essential trace element in humans and in animals. Chromium as pure metal has no adverse effect. Little toxic effect is attributed to trivalent chromium when present in very large quantities. Both acute and chronic toxicity of chromium are mainly caused by hexavalent compounds. The most important toxic effects, after contact, inhalation, or ingestion of hexavalent chromium compounds are the following: dermatitis, allergic and eczematous skin reactions, skin and mucous membrane ulcerations, perforation of the nasal septum, allergic asthmatic reactions, bronchial carcinomas, gastro-enteritis, hepatocellular deficiency, and renal oligo anuric deficiency. Prevention of occupational risks, biological monitoring of workers, and treatment of poisoning are also reported.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromates / toxicity
  • Chromium / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Chromates
  • Chromium
  • chromic acid