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Piscataway, NJ, United States

Stern A.H.,Office of Science | Yu C.H.,Occupational Health science Institute | Black K.,Occupational Health science Institute | Lin L.,Occupational Health science Institute | And 3 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment

In contrast to Cr+3, Cr+6 is carcinogenic and allergenic. Although Cr+6 can occur naturally, it is thought that most soil Cr+6 is anthropogenic, however, the extent of Cr+6 in the background environment is unknown. Cr+6-containing chromite ore processing residue (COPR) from chromate manufacture was deposited in numerous locations in Jersey City (JC), New Jersey. In the 1990's, significantly elevated concentrations of total Cr (Cr+6+Cr+3) were found in house dust near COPR sites. We undertook a follow-up study to determine ongoing COPR exposure. We compared Cr+6 in house dust in JC to selected background communities with no known sources of Cr+6. Samples were collected from living areas, basements and window wells. Cr+6 was detected in dust from all JC and background houses. In the JC homes, the mean (±SD) Cr+6 concentration for all samples was 3.9±7.0μg/g (range: non-detect-90.4μg/g), and the mean Cr+6 loading was 5.8±15.7μg/m2 (range: non-detect-196.4μg/m2). In background homes, the mean Cr+6 concentrations of all samples was 4.6±7.8μg/g, (range, 0.05-56.6μg/g). The mean loading was 10.0±27.9μg/m2 (range, 0.22-169.3μg/m2). There was no significant difference between Cr+6 dust concentrations in Jersey City and background locations. Stratification by sample location within houses and sampling method gave similar results. Samples exceeding 20μg/g were obtained only from single wood surfaces in different homes. Lower concentrations in window well samples suggests transport from outside is not the major source of indoor Cr+6. Landscaping and groundcover may influence indoor Cr+6. There appears to be a widespread low level background of Cr+6 that is not elevated in Jersey City homes despite its historic COPR contamination. It is possible that house dust, in general, is a source of Cr+6 exposure with potential implications for persistence of chromium allergic contact dermatitis. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

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