Characterization of Hexavalent Chromium Concentrations in Household Dust in Background Areas: Research Project Summary



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Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Science


In order to understand the significance of the low-level ubiquitous occurrence of hexavalent chromium (Cr+6 ) in house dust sampled in the Hudson County Chromium Exposure and Health Study in Jersey City, New Jersey, a study was undertaken to measure Cr+6 in samples of house dust obtained from background locations unrelated to Jersey City. A total of 20 homes was sampled in New Brunswick, New Jersey and surrounding towns. Three samples were collected in each home and analyzed for Cr+6. Total chromium (Cr+6 + Cr+3) was also analyzed in 17% of samples. As in Jersey City, Cr+6 was found to be ubiquitous in house dust samples in the background locations. No significant difference was found between Cr+6 concentrations in Jersey City and the background locations. Evidence suggests that at least some of the Cr+6 in the dust arose from materials inside the houses. Comparison of the correlation of Cr+6 and Cr+3 in Jersey City and the background locations indicates that residual chromate production waste (COPR) in Jersey City was not a major source of the Cr+6 in Jersey City house dust. In addition to household materials, possible sources of Cr+6 in house dust include atmospheric deposition, naturally occurring Cr+6 in soil, and exogenous soil and soil treatments containing Cr+6 contamination. Further research will be needed to identify the sources of Cr+6 in house dust.


Prepared by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute and NJDEP, Office of Science


New Jersey