California wildfires create toxic hexavalent chromium: study

SACRAMENTO, the United States, Dec. 12– A new study by scientists at Stanford University has raised alarming concerns that wildfires in the U.S. state of California can transform relatively harmless metals into cancer-causing compounds. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, focused on chromium, a metal commonly found in…

SACRAMENTO, the United States, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) — A new study by scientists at Stanford University has raised alarming concerns that wildfires in the U.S. state of California can transform relatively harmless metals into cancer-causing compounds.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, focused on chromium, a metal commonly found in California soil, and its more dangerous form, hexavalent chromium.

The findings demonstrated that high temperatures during California’s wildfires catalyzed the widespread transformation of chromium to hexavalent chromium in soil and ash.

According to the study, relatively dry weather following wildfires contributed to the persistence of hexavalent chromium in surficial soil layers for up to 10 months.

As California grapples with the increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires, researchers said understanding the potential health risks associated with these events is crucial.

The research team recommends that additional studies be conducted to investigate the presence of other potentially harmful compounds that may be released during wildfires. Enditem