A naturally occurring element found in rocks, animals, plants and soil.
There are three main forms of chromium:
Chromium-0: used for making steel
Chromium-3: in a small amount, an essential nutrient helping the body use sugar, protein and fat
Chromium-6: much more toxic to life forms than chromium 3
More uses for chromium-6 and chromium-3:
Plating, dyes, pigments, leather tanning and wood preservation.
How does chromium affect a person's health?
High levels of chromium-6 can cause irritation to the lining of the nose, nose ulcers, runny nose and breathing problems, including asthma, coughing, shortness of breath or wheezing.
In animals, chromium-6 causes irritation and ulcers in the stomach and small intestine and anemia.
Sperm damage and damage to male reproductive systems has been seen in laboratory animals exposed to chromium-6.
An increase in stomach tumors has been observed in humans and animals exposed to chromium-6 in drinking water.
Source: California Department of Public Health, U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry