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Please be aware that this old REACH registration data factsheet is no longer maintained; it remains frozen as of 19th May 2023.

The new ECHA CHEM database has been released by ECHA, and it now contains all REACH registration data. There are more details on the transition of ECHA's published data to ECHA CHEM here.

Diss Factsheets

Administrative data

health surveillance data
Type of information:
other: literature reviews
Adequacy of study:
weight of evidence
Study period:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Critical studies are summarized in three literature reviews

Data source

Referenceopen allclose all

Reference Type:
review article or handbook
Health risk assessment report for metallic chromium and trivalent chromium
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Bibliographic source:
Published by the International Chromium Development Association
Reference Type:
review article or handbook
Toxicological profile for chromium
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Bibliographic source:
US Dept of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, ATSDR
Reference Type:
review article or handbook
The toxicity of chromium and inorganic chromium compounds
Health and Safety Executive
Bibliographic source:
HSE Toxicity review 21

Materials and methods

Study type:
other: various study types are summarised
Endpoint addressed:
not applicable
Test guideline
no guideline available
Principles of method if other than guideline:
Summary of literature reports investigating various endpoints
GLP compliance:
not specified
: not appicable

Test material

Constituent 1
Chemical structure
Reference substance name:
Chromium hydroxide sulphate
EC Number:
EC Name:
Chromium hydroxide sulphate
Cas Number:
Molecular formula:
chromium hydroxide sulphate
Constituent 2
Reference substance name:
not applicable
not applicable
Details on test material:
In occupational studies, it is often difficult to separate exposure of chromium (III) from chromium (VI).


Details on study design:
Various study types are summarised

Results and discussion

See below.

Any other information on results incl. tables

Kinetics The leather tanning industry typically uses trivalent chromium in the form of basic chromium sulphates. In one study, tannery workers exposed to basic chromium sulphate or Cr bound to leather dust exhibited significantly higher chromium concentrations (4 ug/g chromium in hair, 1.7 ug/g creatinine chromium in urine and 25 mg/dm3 chromium in sweat) than controls (FIOH review, 2006). In another study, the highest concentration of chromium in serum and urine samples taken from three groups of tannery workers (highly exposed, moderately exposed and controls) were seen in workers with the highest exposure. Exposure to basic chromium sulphate in four different tanneries showed that Monday morning urinary chromium concentrations were clearly lower than that of Friday afternoon. According to an industry report, urinary chromium concentrations in workers of one electroplating shop employing trivalent chromium varied from 0.23 to 0.85 ug/g creatinine. Additional studies on tannery workers include one conducted with 24 polishers (12/sex) of chrome tanned, dried leather with 2-20 years of employment in a Polish tannery and a control group of 21 office workers. The average concentration of leather dust was reported as 2 mg/m3 with airborne concentrations of 0.1 mg/m3 Cr (III). Health effects Chronic inflammation in the upper airways, especially in the pharynx, was seen in tannery workers but the authors did not show evidence to exclude other potential causes such as microbial toxins or finishing chemicals in the leather (FIOH, 2006). No increase in the prevalence of respiratory illness was found in a study of 128 workers from two factories that produced water-soluble chromium (III) sulphate or insoluble chromium (III) oxide, or in 106 workers at a factory that produced these compounds where workroom levels were 1.99 mg Cr (III)/m3 (ATSDR, 2000). No indication was found that exposure to chromium (III) resulted in stomach disorders in workers employed in two factories that produced chromium (III) oxide or chromium (III) sulfate. An early report of cases of chrome ulcers in leather tanners noted that the only workmen in tanneries who suffered chrome holes were those who handled dichromate salts (ATSDR review, 2000). No increase in chromosomal aberrations was observed in 17 tannery workers exposed primarily to water-soluble trivalent chromium compounds, as compared with controls (ATSDR review, 2000). Workers handling hides soaked in chromium (III) sulphate solution during leather tanning had increased levels of chromium in the blood and urine. Urinary chromium remained above normal in these workers even after a 40-day vacation (HSE review, 1989). Another study of Canadian tannery workers from four plants, with an average concentration of 1.7 ug Cr/m3, indicated that workers had significant three- and four-fold increases in serum and urine chromium, respectively. German workers exposed to trivalent chromium as highly water-soluble chromium sulphate had higher blood and urine chromium levels compared to an unexposed control group (HSE review, 1989).

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Elevated chromium levels in urine and blood have been seen with occupational exposure to water-soluble chromium (III) compounds.
Executive summary:

Based on the studies reviewed, occupational exposure to highly water-soluble Cr (III) compounds in leather tanning resulted in significantly elevated blood and urine chromium levels. The principal exposure route(s) responsible for this chromium absorption has not been properly identified.