What is hexavalent chromium & how to act for best protection.
A recent case (early February 2019) of financial compensation for 800 workers who have been exposed to the hazardous hexavalent chromium in the workshop of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NedTrain-department) in Tilburg, the Netherlands, has again put the spotlight on the danger of this substance.
The city of Tilburg has to pay a total of 10 million euros to those that have been exposed to and those that have gotten ill from Chrome 6, working at the Nederlandse Spoorwegen workshop.
Chromium metal is used in many steel alloys to harden the material and make it more resistant to corrosion. Chromium metal itself is not very dangerous, but during welding or grinding the metal is oxidized to hazardous hexavalent chromium. This substance is also used in certain paints and coatings for its corrosion protection. The exposed workers in Tilburg were scraping off this specific paint of old trains. The Nederlandse Spoorwegen is blamed for knowing that this kind of painting was used on the trains but never mentioning it to the city of Tilburg. “Shocking,” concluded the investigators, pointing fingers at both NedTrain and the city that didn’t inquire at all.
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