Chromium industry hid troubling health data, say researchers

Scientists working for the chromium industry withheld information about the carcinogenic metal’s health risks even as the industry campaigned to block a strict new regulation, according to a new report. In the journal Environmental Health, researchers describe an industry-sponsored study that suggested lung cancer deaths were five times higher than previously known after moderate exposure to chromium. But these findings were never published or given to government regulators, and the scientists later manipulated the data to obscure the risks, the report charges. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to release a new chromium regulation next week, and sources say it’s likely to be five micrograms per cubic meter of air — five times OSHA’s initial, more stringent, proposal, but just what the chromium industry wanted in order to save billions on plant upgrades and closures. About 380,000 people in the U.S. are exposed to chromium on the job.