If you inhale finely ground chromium while sharpening bits, you can get cancer. It doesn’t take years of working in a factory from a Charles Dickens novel to do it, either. While you're waiting for the oncologist's results, you could nibble on the ends of the bits and be alright. Eating Cr is not a health risk on its own.
I just did another stupid metal trick. I picked up these nice 3M scotchbrite wheels. I love them; they are nice no-nonsense abrasives which do what they are supposed to. After buffing some nicks on a teaspoon, there seems to be an objectionable metallic taste, but only on the buff marks. Do these need to be passivated?
Or is it mysterious rust preventer? Sometimes, these tools smell a little suspicious.
California has their own special level of hysteria. We are to put bold signs in the waiting area, the break room, customer entry points, the shops, the parts display area etc.
Read these signs and do not hold me responsible.
OOPS, is this political? No it's not. I'm OK.
There is a direct correlation between breathing air and dying from cancer. Conversely, no one who has never breathed air has died from cancer.
The bad actor regarding chromium is hexavalent chromium (Cr VI). It is a highly oxidized form of chromium which is also highly reactive. Chromium became a poster child when Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric for contaminating wastewater with Cr VI. Julia Roberts made the case notorious in her depiction of Brockovich and the lawsuit in the film of the same name.
It has since been assumed (erroneously, IMO) that all forms of chromium are carcinogenic. I take 90 micrograms of chromium every day in my multivitamin tablets which is considered to be 76% of my minimum daily requirement. I've been doing so for thirty years.
...but swallowing Cr(II) vs. inhaling Cr(VI) are not the same. Cr is a carcinogenic hazard when inhaled, because it causes cancer in the bronchioles and lungs. It's not the same route of exposure, kinda like thumbing a suppository into place vs. snorting drill bit dust off of a mirror. Just sayin'.
A benzene warning on gasoline is not unwarranted; benzene is nasty throughout your system. Hence the carcinogenicity ratings at the top of the category across all agencies. But to think that gas companies are going to let a commodity chemical feedstock like benzene enter their fuel fractions is silly! That chemical is worth more money elsewhere. Nowadays benzene is a trace contaminant in fuels.
If you eat a drill bit, you will have more immediate problems than cancer...
I grind a lot of silicon bronze and i try to wear AT LEAST a face shield if not a dust mask..I'm too afraid to look up issues with that. I stopped smoking 3.5 years ago, "so i got that going for me....which is nice..."
Indeed, no one in the govt. of Cal will be held responsible either! I remember the warning from a few years back-" Warning!- The State of California has determined that saliva causes cancer. But only when swallowed in small amounts, over a long period of time." Kidding, but ya get the feeling....
The above was meant as a joke but out of curiosity I googled it and a few results popped up!
I especially like the recommendations should one inhale a drill bit. It's OK though, as long as we stand outside afterwards we should be OK! Medical help should only be sought if large quantities have been ingested. I wonder what they consider to be large quantities?