Chromium poisoning among leather tanners has long been known. The workers have been found to suffer from ulcers, allergic dermatitis, lung cancer, and liver necrosis due to prolonged contact with chromium salts. One of the highly catastrophic incidences of lung cancer as a result of inhaling dust containing Cr (VI) was reported in 1960 from the Kiryama factory of the Nippon-Denko concern on the island of Hokkaido, Japan.
Pollution of water resources, both surface and underground, by indiscriminate discharge of spent wastes of chromium-based industries has become a serious global concern, for it has created an acute scarcity of safe drinking water in many countries. In August 1975 it was observed that underground drinking water in Tokyo near the chromium (VI))–containing spoil heaps contained more than 2000 times the permissible limit of chromium. In Ludhiana and Chennai, India, chromium levels in underground water have been recorded at more than 12 mg/L and 550–1500 ppm/L, respectively.