Chromium (III) and chromium (VI) both have high chronic toxicity to aquatic life. No data are available on the long-term effects of chromium to plants, birds, or land animals. Chromium (III) has moderate acute toxicity to aquatic life. No data are available on the short-term effects of chromium to plants, birds, or land animals. Fish do not appear to take up or store chromium in their bodies.
Entering the environment
Chromium can be transported as particles released into the atmosphere or as dissolved compounds in natural waters.
Where it ends up
Chromium (III) can be found in nature and low background levels in air, water and food occur everywhere. Manufacturing, disposal of products or chemicals containing chromium, or burning of fossil fuels release chromium to the air, soil, and water. Chromium particles settle from air in less than 10 days. Chromium sticks strongly to soil particles. Most chromium in water sticks to dirt particles that fall to the bottom and only a small amount of chromium dissolves.
Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Waters: (ANZECC, 1992):
Maximum of 0.01 mg/L (i.e. 0.00001 g/L) in fresh waters and 0.05 mg/L (i.e. 0.00005 g/L) in marine waters respectively. Important: These are total chromium concentrations and are based on the assumption that all chromium is in the more toxic chromium (VI) form.
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