The Link Between Hexavalent Chromium and Cancer in Railroad Workers

Railway workers are routinely required to weld locomotives, box cars, and other various other equipment. Welding is the method used to join two or more objects, typically metals, together. In order to accomplish this, the welder will use a blowtorch to bring the materials to their melting point and then fuse them together. Welding also releases fumes that contain dangerous chemicals such as cadmium, manganese, and chromium, all of which have been linked to major health issues, including cancer.

What cancers does hexavalent chromium cause? 

As experienced attorneys, we are familiar with the adverse conditions under which railway employees work and the occupational illnesses and injuries they often cause. The Virginia railroad injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp are advocates for railway workers in any line of work. We have successfully secured several multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements in major railway injury cases. 

What is Hexavalent Chromium?

Cancer, Chromium Exposure, and Railroad Welding

Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium (VI) is an oxidized version of chromium, which is prized for its hardness and high resistance to corrosion. Being exposed to hexavalent chromium has been proven to result in lung cancer. It has also been linked to cancers involving the nasal sinuses and nose

Many railway workers are vulnerable to increased risks of developing cancer due to chromium exposure caused by welding.  

Hexavalent Chromium Exposure and Railroad Welders

Breathing in welding fumes is the number one source of exposure to hexavalent chromium among railroad workers. Hexavalent chromium may also be discovered in certain types of rust inhibitors that railway workers use to coat railcars, locomotives, and other machinery. The level of hexavalent chromium found in welding fumes is directly proportional to the amount of chromium in the welded metal. Almost all steel contains at least a little bit of chromium, with mild carbon steel and stainless steel typically containing the most significant amounts.  

Which Railroad Workers are Exposed to Hexavalent Chromium? 

Anybody in close proximity to an area where welding takes place is at risk of being exposed to hexavalent chromium. Regrettably, a lot of railway workers perform regular duties in the track department, locomotive shops, and car department, meaning they are exposed to toxic welding fumes on a regular basis. In spite of the frequency of exposure and the well-documented health risks, railroad companies have been slow to implement even the most basic of safety measures to reduce the amount of risk their employees are subjected to. 

Is Hexavalent Chromium the Only Carcinogen in Welding Fumes? 

Not by any means. Welding fumes have been proven to contain several other carcinogens, including beryllium, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Additionally, welding fumes are just one of the numerous toxic substances to which railway employees are routinely exposed. 

What Can I Do if I Was Exposed? 

If you or a member of your family has been exposed to toxic, cancer-causing welding fumes while employed by a railroad company and have received a distressing diagnosis, call our law firm today to schedule your free consultation. Sadly, the list of toxic substances that railway workers are regularly exposed to is a long and varied one. The railroad injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp know how to take these exposures and other subpar working conditions into consideration when building your case.  

Talk to an Experienced Railroad Attorney Today

The railroad employee injury lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have achieved successful resolutions to numerous claims against major railroad companies under the Federal Employers Liability Act. If you have been diagnosed with cancer or sustained another form of occupational illness or injury as a railroad employee, call our Hampton law offices at (833) 997-1774 or fill out the contact form on our website. 

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