Hexavalent chromium (CR6, hex chrome) is a volatized and oxidized form of chromium and has been identified as a carcinogen. OSHA has subsequently established stringent regulations for workers who are potentially exposed to it.
Common processes that lead to the inhalation of airborne hex chrome (dust, fume, or mist) include performing hot work and welding on stainless steel, high chrome alloys and chrome-coated metal, applying and removing chromate-containing paints and other surface coatings, and producing chromate pigments, dyes and powders (i.e. chromic acid and chromium catalysts)
Health hazards associated with the inhalation or direct contact with hexavalent chromium include lung cancer, damage to the respiratory tract and harm or irritation to the eyes and skin. Due to the volatile and hazardous nature of hex chrome CR6, OSHA has established the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) at 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air (5ug/m3) and an “Action Level” of 2.5ug/m3 (calculated as an 8-hour TWA).
At Sentry Air Systems, we have specifically tested our HEPA and MP1 cleanable filter media for its effectiveness and efficiency in controlling exposure to hex chrome fumes commonly found in welding and light grinding dust applications. Read more about the Hazards of Hexavalent Chromium Fumes and see the results of our Industrial Hygiene Reports where we tested both our HEPA filter media and MP1 Cleanable filter media against hexavalent chromium in welding fume.