Volume No. 2 Issue No.: 3 Page No.: 386-392 January-March 2008

 

HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM (VI) :
ENVIRONMENT POLLUTANT AND HEALTH HAZARD

 

Alok Prasad Das and Susmita Mishra*

National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, Orissa, (India)

 

Received on : August 13, 2007

 

ABSTRACT

 

Cr (VI) is a notorious environmental pollutant because it is a strong oxidant and much more toxic than Cr (III). It has wide applications in various industries such as stainless steel, electroplating of chrome, dyes, leather tanning and wood preservatives. High doses of Cr (VI) have been associated with birth defects and cancer. Plants and animals do not bio accumulate chromium; therefore, the potential impact of high chromium levels in the environment is highly toxic to plants and animals. In human beings this toxicity may be expressed as skin lesions or rashes and kidney and liver damage. Chronic exposure to Cr (VI) in the form of lead chromate effects on carcinogenicity and is found to induce persistent or increasing chromosome damage. Cr (VI) is mobile in soil, more toxic, and penetrates more readily into the cell membranes than the trivalent form. Many factors like the biotic and abiotic factors in the environment, and characteristics of the pollutant influence the toxicity of chromium on microorganisms2,4. The adverse effects of chromium can be seen in many microbe-mediated processes including carbon mineralization, nitrogen transformation and mineralization of phosphorous and sulfur. The presence of chromium decreases microbial populations and also affects microbial respiration. Chromium is found to be both toxic and mutagenic to various microorganisms. A case study reflects the chromium contamination in the water bodies in and around Sukinda mines of Orissa state in India and its effect on the potential users of the contaminated water. The paper provides a social awareness among the public and suggests some remediation techniques to reduce the contamination.

 

Keywords : Hexavalent chromium, Carcinogenicity, Microbe-mediated processes, Oxidizing agent, Genotoxicity

 

 

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