February 17 2015 - In This Issue:
Dear Customer


Below is a new article on the Heavy & Toxic Metal; Chromium (Cr). We will be bringing you a new article each week on the rest of the heavy metals - there are about 24 of them now being labelled as such.


You can see details of them here over the next couple of weeks if you do not wish to wait for the weekly articles:



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Clifford Woods 

Vibrant Life

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Chromium (Cr): The Toxic and Good Side of the Metal

By Clifford Woods

Word Origin: The element chromium (Cr) derives its name from the Greek word "chroma", which means "colour", because of the various intensely-coloured compounds formed by the element.


Examples of such compounds include crocoites which are known for their red colour as evidenced by the common name "Siberian red lead" and the precious stones emerald and ruby which attribute their characteristic colours to the constituent presence of this element.


When used in plating, the metal is known as "chrome", which in turn is also used as an adjective used to indicate a shiny, lustrous, silvery, polished look.

History: As far back as the Chinese Qin dynasty (221 to 206 BC), chromium (Cr) oxide has been used to coat metal weapons, as found on the items from the recently-unearthed Terracotta Army. 


In mid-18th century France, Louis-Nicholas Vauquelin came close to purifying the element after extracting the lead content from crocoite.

In 1798, Vauquelin was able to isolate the metal itself by heating its oxide in an oven with charcoal. A couple of years later, Tassaert, a German chemist, found the element in an ore known today as chromite, which is currently considered as the element's major source.

Technical Information: Identified by the symbol Cr, it is the 22nd most abundant element on Earth. The metal is incredibly resistant to tarnishing, requires a very high temperature to melt, and can be polished, which is why it is used to plate other more common metals that are less resilient, such as iron.

In its pure form, it exhibits a bluish-white colour (characteristically silvery when polished), but when bound in compounds, it may exhibit a far deeper hue such as red or green. In fact, the colour of gemstones such as the rubies and emeralds are attributed to their chromium (Cr) content.

Today, it is commonly found in two forms: trivalent and hexavalent. A term more familiar to the chemists, trivalent means that the chemical has three free (valence) electrons for bonding with other elements. 


This form is naturally found in food and is considered benign to humans. Its hexavalent form, formed artificially and common in industrial settings, has six valence electrons.

Symbol: Cr
Atomic Number: 24
Atomic Mass: 51.9961 amu
Melting Point: 1907 �C - 3465 �F
Boiling Point: 2671 �C - 4840 �F
Number of Protons/Electrons: 24
Number of Neutrons: Stable isotopes 52Cr, 53Cr, 54Cr have 28, 29, 30 neutrons respectively
Classification: Transition metal
Uses: dyes, plating, electronics, catalysts, supplements

Effects on the Body When Exposed: CR(VI) compounds are acutely toxic and has been shown by studies as carcinogenic. The amount consumed of this isotope (orally) to trigger toxicity can range from 50 to 150 micrograms per kilogram. Acute Cr(VI) poisonings, which occurs by ingesting the element, are often fatal regardless of the therapy used.


Symptoms of poisoning can include diarrhea and vomiting from severe gastrointestinal irritation (which can be delayed from hours up to days), fever and muscle cramps, renal failure, almost hand in hand with haemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells) and liver damage, followed by multiple organ failures, coma, and then death.


These symptoms are usually noticed after having exterior burns, which typically extended to deeper tissue within one or two days.


Acute Cr(VI) exposure symptoms commonly include respiratory issues such as sinusitis, irritation (asthma and bronchitis), perforation in the nasal septum, and irritant dermatitis that can lead to skin ulcers, called "chrome ulcer". This condition is widespread in workers in industries such as tanning, leather, and paints.


There are usually no clear hints to Cr-exposure. The key to proper diagnosis is a detailed history, with special focus to the patient's recent living information, such as living nearby hazardous industrial sites, functional or abandoned.


On the other hand, studies for the naturally-occurring form Cr(III) show a positive effect for the body, though these are currently debatable.


First, it is considered harmless to humans. In fact the Cr(III) isotope is common in human food intake and is presently becoming more commonly used in dietary supplements. These supplements are broadly marketed to the diabetic and weight-loss communities.


It is reported that the element's levels in the body could correct the two indicators of the body to control its blood-sugar levels: intolerance to glucose and resistance to insulin.


It has been found to correct diabetes symptoms in hospitalized patients who were unable to feed on solid food and were being fed intravenously. Today it is now included in most intravenous solutions.

Though extremely rare in healthy adults, deficiency of this chemical can occur. This may contribute to high cholesterol, glaucoma, and coronary heart disease, though these relatively new findings are still controversial.

Taking too much supplements may cause stomach problems and hypoglycaemia, which is also more commonly known as low blood sugar. Though side effects are decidedly rare, excessive or overdosed use can lead to liver and kidney damage.

These market supplements also have known interactions with drugs such as antacids, proton-pump inhibitors, and corticosteroids. These drugs have two effects: they may hamper the absorption of the element into the body, or otherwise elevate the excretion of it. 


On the other hand, drugs such as insulin, ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, nicotinic acid, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDS) and beta-blockers may have their effects boosted unpleasantly by dietary supplement intake of Cr. 


Always consult your doctor before taking such supplements to understand how to fully make the most of its effects.

Environmental Effects:
Although primarily influencing the environment, pollution of Cr(VI) can adversely affect any person within that environment. Factories and industrial plants for tanning, dyes, and paints often require environmental cleanup when abandoned, due to high concentrations of Cr(VI) left in the area.

In December 2010, the Environmental Working Group made public a study that found Cr(VI) in the tap water of 31 U.S. cities, out of a sampling of 35. Of the positives, 25 exceeded the level limits proposed in California.

Some Other Facts about This Metal:
* Its natural form, Cr (III), is an up and coming dietary supplement for diabetics, though still controversial.
* Because it is an element that literally shines when polished in its pure form, this beautiful metal is used widely in plating. Stainless steel, e.g., the ones used in cutlery, is steel alloyed with Cr. 

Of course, aside from forks and knives, it has other finer uses. It is also used to manufacture armoured-steel commodities such as safes and armour plates, as well as cutting- and stress-enduring tools for those items, such as saw blades and ball bearings.
* The element Cr is also well-known for its excellent magnetic properties, which exceeds those made of iron.
* When in powdered form, it is considered a fire hazard and should be handled accordingly.
* Chromic compounds are used as catalysts for treating substances such as hydrocarbons. For example, the Phillips catalyst is used in the manufacture of approximately half of the total of the world's plastic.
* The compound known as chrome green, or chromic oxide, which is commonly used today in paint, ranks ninth as the most abundant compounds on earth.
* It is also used as the major ingredient in metal polishes and oxidizing agents, such as those used in cleaning laboratory glassware.
* Its salts known as chromates, used in the industry, can cause allergic reactions upon contact. Chromates are chiefly used in leather and tanning products, as well as in cement and mortar. 



[The information contained in this article is believed to be reliable. I have taken every precaution to verify its accuracy; I am not a medical professional and make no warranties, representations or guarantees of any kind as to its accuracy. Medical knowledge is in a constant state of change, and what I have written here may be out of date by the time you read it. The information that I have provided here is for informational purposes only and not for use in diagnosing any condition that you may or may not have. Always consult with you doctor before treating yourself.]