Chromium is used extensively in the manufacture of stainless steel, chrome plating, leather tanning, as a dye for printing, and textile manufacture, and as such can possess a significant occupational health hazard (34). The toxic form is Cr 6+. Inhalation of dust particles containing this metal causes erosion of the epithelium of the nasal passages and has also been associated with squamous-cell carcinoma of lung (35). Cr 6+ is rapidly reduced to Cr 3+, which has no known toxicity (36). Because of the rapid disaparence of the toxic form of chromium monitoring biological specimens for Cr 6+ is neither practical nor clinically useful in attempting to detect chromium toxicity. Thus, measurement of chromium (Cr 3+) in urine can be used to assess exposure to chromium, although the concentration of Cr 3+ may not indicate specific exposure to Cr 6+. However, monitoring the air at the manufacturing site for the presence of Cr 6+ is useful way to test for Cr 6+ exposure.

Chromium is also known as "glucose-tolerance factor" since it is required for insulin activity (37). Existing technology can not measure chromium deficiency, because the lower limit of normal range of chromium in blood challenges the detection limit (0.2 ng/mL) of atomic absorption techniques.

Chromium has been measured by CZE. In this method separation of Cr (IV) or Cr (III) requires complexation with either cyclohexanediamine-tetraacetic acid (CDTA) or ethyldiaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) to to cause the chromium species to migrate towards the cathode. Using CDTA and direct detection at 240 nm gave 19 and 59 ppb (ng/mL) detection levels for Cr (VI) and Cr (III), respectively. About 10-fold lower detection limits noted when EDTA used (23). Although the limit of sensitivity for the method using EDTA is good, another one to two orders of magnitude is still required for CE to be clinical useful.

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