Chromium Poisoning Claims
What is chromium?
Chromium and chromium compounds are commonly used in industry. The metal is hard, brittle and has a lustre finish which is why chromium is used in things such as creating stainless steel finishes and chrome plating items. There are many other industrial used for chromium, some of which include the manufacturing of pottery, paints and ceramics, and the drying process for wool and silk.
The term ‘chromium toxicity’ refers to the fact that some types of chromium are poisonous, such as hexavalent chromium, which is highly toxic and can lead to serious and long term health problems if an individual is exposed to it. However, not all types are poisonous and are not considered a health hazard.
What is chromium poisoning and what are the symptoms?
Being exposed to chromium can lead to chromium poisoning which has a number of possible symptoms. Certain symptoms depend on how the exposure occurred. Symptoms include:
- Chrome ulcers – lesions with raised edges that appear on the surface of the skin after contact with chromium. The ulcers are not malignant though can be painful, especially if they become infected
- Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- A fever
- Muscle cramps
- Excessive bleeding (from cuts)
- Kidney failure
- Liver damage
- Circulatory collapse
- Acute multisystem organ failure
- Anaemia – due to the toxicity breaking down red blood cells
As you would imagine, the higher level of exposure to chromium, the more severe the symptoms are. In severe cases where there have been extremely high levels of exposure, a person could end up in a coma, or worse, they could die.
There are a number of ways in which a person can be exposed to chromium toxicity which include:
- Breathing in contaminated dust
- Having skin contact with chromium
- Eating, drinking or smoking in places where chromium is used
If a person suffers chromium poisoning after one time exposure, this is considered as acute exposure. Acute exposure may be a low level which is typically managed until the chromium is out of the body, but if there is a high level of exposure, more severe symptoms may be sustained.
Chronic exposure occurs when an individual is exposed to chromium over a long period of time, usually over a number of years. The levels for chronic exposure may be lower (for example in small doses or small amounts of time) but the repeated exposure accumulates and has a worse effect as time goes on.
How is chromium poisoning diagnosed and how is it treated?
If you think you have been exposed to chromium, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. If you have been exposed to a low level of chromium, you may not notice any symptoms, but testing your blood, your liver and your urine can determine whether or not there is any in your system.
The general treatment for chromium poisoning is to manage the symptoms you are presented with until the body gets rid of the chromium naturally. In addition, further exposure should be stopped to prevent your symptoms worsening or taking you longer to recover.
In cases where a person has been exposed to a high level of chromium, they may require hospitalisation where mechanical support may be needed for the respiratory, cardiovascular and renal systems. This is because the level of chromium in the body are too high for it to get rid of naturally.
Can I make a claim for chromium poisoning?
If you have been exposed to chromium toxicity in the workplace due to someone else’s negligence and you have suffered with health problems as a direct result, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
It is important to remember that there are many time limitations in place regarding making a claim, so the sooner you seek legal advice, the better.
Get in touch with CL Legal now to start your claim: