The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently published Hexavalent Chromium, a booklet outlining industry standards for protecting painters, welders, and other workers who might be exposed to the toxic chemical. Hexavalent chromium is used in pigments, metal finishing, wood preservatives, and fungicides.
"Hexavalent chromium is a powerful lung carcinogen and exposure to this chemical must be minimized," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. Exposure to the chemical can also lead to damage to the nose, throat and respiratory system. In addition, inhaling the chemical's fumes can cause allergic reactions or asthmatic symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.
The booklet explains OSHA's hexavalent chromium standards in a reader-friendly format and is a companion document to the Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Hexavalent Chromium Standards published in 2006. Requirements for exposure limits, exposure monitoring and determination, protective work clothing and equipment, medical surveillance, communication of hexavalent chromium hazards and recordkeeping are described.