27 June 2008

Chromium (VI): linked to lung cancer

The Irish Times 27/6/08

THE TOXIC waste left behind at the Haulbowline plant includes traces of chromium (VI). This has been shown to cause lung cancer in workers exposed to the substance according to the US National Toxicology Programme run under the national institutes of health.

It is in widespread industrial use in electroplating and stainless steel production, the most likely reason it was found at the former Irish Steel plant is that the plant would have received recycled chrome-plated metals. While most health impacts are caused by breathing in chromium (VI) dust, the substance can form compounds that can get into water systems.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has set very low levels for drinking water, with maximum limits of 100 microgrammes per litre of water, some states set even lower limits. The film Erin Brockovich told the true story of a legal case surrounding a chromium (VI) pollution incident in California.


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