Author(s): Barnhart J
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Abstract Chromium is the 21st most abundant element in the Earth's crust with a mean concentration in United States soils of about 40 mg/kg. Although it exists in several oxidation states, the zero, trivalent, and hexavalent states are the most important in commercial products and the environment. Nearly all naturally occurring chromium is in the trivalent state, usually in combination with iron or other metal oxides. Although only about 15\% of the chromium mined is used in the manufacture of chemicals, most applications of chromium utilize the chemistry of chromium. For instance, the "stainless" nature of stainless steel is due to the chemical properties of the chromium oxides which form on the surface of the alloy. Similarly, the protective properties of chrome plating of metals, chromated copper arsenate (CCA) treatment of wood, and chrome tanning of leather are all dependent on chromium chemistry. The key to these uses is that under typical environmental and biological conditions of pH and oxidation-reduction potential, the most stable form of chromium is the trivalent oxide. This form has very low solubility and low reactivity resulting in low mobility in the environment and low toxicity in living organisms. In this paper the chemical properties of chromium are discussed for the major commercial products in the context of the Eh-pH diagram for chromium. Copyright 1997 Academic Press.
This article was published in Regul Toxicol Pharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation