Sampling and analysis considerations for the determination of hexavalent chromium in workplace air†
Airborne hexavalent chromium (Cr[VI]) is a known human respiratory carcinogen and allergen. Workers in a variety of industries may be exposed to airborne hexavalent chromium, with exposures frequently occurring via inhalation and/or dermal contact. Analytical methods for the measurement of Cr(VI) compounds in workplace samples, rather than for the determination of total elemental chromium in workplace air, are often desired because exposure limit values for Cr(VI) compounds are much lower than for total Cr. For years, sampling and analytical test methods for airborne Cr(VI) have been investigated so as to provide means for occupational exposure assessment to this highly toxic species. Inter-conversion of trivalent chromium (Cr[III]) and Cr(VI) can sometimes occur during sampling and sample preparation, and efforts to minimize unwanted redox reactions involving these chromium valences have been sought. Because of differences in toxicity, there is also interest in the ability to differentiate between water-soluble and insoluble forms of Cr(VI), and procedures that provide solubility information concerning Cr(VI) compounds have been developed. This paper reviews the state of the art concerning the measurement of airborne Cr(VI) compounds in workplace aerosols and related samples.