Chromium in drinking water: association with biomarkers of exposure and effect

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2014 Sep 29;11(10):10125-45. doi: 10.3390/ijerph111010125.


An epidemiological cross-sectional study was conducted in Greece to investigate health outcomes associated with long-term exposure to chromium via drinking water. The study population consisted of 304 participants. Socio-demographics, lifestyle, drinking water intake, dietary habits, occupational and medical history data were recorded through a personal interview. Physical examination and a motor test were carried out on the individuals. Total chromium concentrations were measured in blood and hair of the study subjects. Hematological, biochemical and inflammatory parameters were determined in blood. Chromium in drinking water ranged from <0.5 to 90 μg·L-1 in all samples but one (220 μg·L-1), with a median concentration of 21.2 μg·L-1. Chromium levels in blood (median 0.32 μg·L-1, range <0.18-0.92 μg·L-1) and hair (median 0.22 μg·g-1, range 0.03-1.26 μg·g-1) were found within "normal range" according to the literature. Personal lifetime chromium exposure dose via drinking water, calculated from the results of the water analyses and the questionnaire data, showed associations with blood and hair chromium levels and certain hematological and biochemical parameters. Groups of subjects whose hematological or biochemical parameters were outside the normal range were not correlated with chromium exposure dose, except for groups of subjects with high triglycerides or low sodium. Motor impairment score was not associated with exposure to chromium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Chromium / adverse effects
  • Chromium / analysis*
  • Chromium / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Drinking Water / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Hair / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Sodium / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / adverse effects
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / blood
  • Water Supply / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • Drinking Water
  • Triglycerides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chromium
  • Sodium