The US Department of Defense has announced that it will investigate emerging environmental and health risks arising from chemical exposures. One of the particular areas of concern is the exposure to hexavalent chromium that occurred Iraq.
On October 8, the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs will hold a hearing on chemical exposures including the hexavalent chromium incident.
Chromium exposure has been associated with lung cancer. Breathing high levels of hexavalent chromium can irritate or damage the nose, throat, and lungs. Irritation or damage to the eyes and skin can occur if hexavalent chromium contacts these organs in high concentrations or for a prolonged period of time. Exposure to chromium can occur from inhalation of dusts, mists, or fumes containing hexavalent chromium, or from eye or skin contact with hexavalent chromium.