Death by tanning — a case of fatal basic chromium sulphate poisoning


A woman ingested 400 ml of leather tanning solution containing 48 g of basic chromium sulphate (CrOHSO4). This substance forms hydrogen ions and trivalent chromium when it reacts with tissue proteins. The patient died of cardiogenic shock, complicated by pancreatitis and gut mucosal necrosis and haemorrhage. There are no reported cases of toxicity due to oral ingestion of trivalent chromium. Toxicity of hexavalent and trivalent chromium is dicussed and suggestions made for management of future cases.

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Correspondence to P. V. van Heerden.

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van Heerden, P.V., Jenkins, I.R., Woods, W.P.D. et al. Death by tanning — a case of fatal basic chromium sulphate poisoning. Intensive Care Med 20, 145–147 (1994).

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Key words

  • Poisoning
  • Chromium sulphate