The speciation of hexavalent chromium: utility in the risk assessment and management
Keywords:hexavalent chromium, speciation, environmental monitoring
Aim: To investigate the usefulness of the speciation of airborne chromium (Cr) for the CrVI risk assessment in workers occupationally exposed to strontium chromate.
Methods: 14 stationary and 16 personal active environmental samplings were performed in painting and assembly department of an aircraft component production plant. For each stationary sampling inhalable dust and strontium chromate as chromium and strontium were determined, while for each personal sampling two different samplers were used, one for the determination of inhalable dust and strontium chromate as chromium and strontium, and one for the determination of chromiumIII and chromiumVI. The determination of Cr and strontium was performed by ICP-MS-DRC, while for the determination of the Cr species was performed by HPLC system coupled to an ICP-MS.
Results: Stationary samplings showed Cr concentrations ranged from 0.002 and 0.070 μg/m3, while personal samplings showed concentrations ranged from 0.007 and 3.44 μg/m3. Occupational exposure to chromiumVI showed in stationary samplings concentrations between <0.0005 μg and 1.82 μg/m3, with a ratio chromiumIII/chromiumVI with a range between 0.02 and 36.0, but generally less than 1.
Conclusions: The speciation technique has shown to be useful for the assessment of exposure to chromiumVI and of the consequent health risk for workers, although the variability of the chromiumIII/chromiumVI ratio indicates the need to validate in the occupational setting a method to avoid species interconversion after sampling.
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