Risk assessment of the allergic dermatitis potential of environmental exposure to hexavalent chromium

J Toxicol Environ Health. 1993 Dec;40(4):613-41. doi: 10.1080/15287399309531822.


Although hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), is a potent sensitizer and inducer of allergic contact dermatitis and is found in many common materials, no standard or guideline currently exists for protection against these effects in environmental exposure. There appears to be a generalized allergenic potential among the various compounds of Cr(VI). Estimates of the prevalence of Cr sensitivity in the population are uncertain, but range from about 2% of the total population in Finland to as high as 20% in U.S. populations with a dermatitis. Based on the thresholds reported for nine separate patch-test studies and statistical analysis of the aggregate dose-response relationship from 72 separate observations from these studies and on studies of allergic responses to bleaches and detergents, the effective threshold for elicitation of allergic contact dermatitis in sensitized populations is about 10 ppm (mg/L) Cr(VI) (as chromium) in solution. Based on evaluation of the literature on cement dermatitis, the threshold concentration of extractable Cr(VI) in solid material may be as low as 10 ppm (microgram/g). For ingestion of Cr(VI), the lowest observed effect level (LOEL) dose for elicitation is 0.26 microgram/kg. In calculating the threshold concentration of Cr(VI) in soil for elicitation of contact dermatitis, extractability must be taken into account.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromium / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / epidemiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patch Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors


  • Chromium