Hexavalent chromium is one of the chemical forms of chromium, which can be present in different forms in the environment, changing from one form to another in water and soil. Hexavalent chromium is also commonly called chromium 6, chromium VI, chrome 6, Cr(VI), Cr+6 or hex chrome. It is also sometimes referred to as the “Erin Brockovich chemical,” because it was made famous in the 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich.” The film is a dramatization of a groundwater contamination incident in Hinkley, Calif., and a class-action lawsuit against an electric power company that resulted in a large settlement.
Other common forms of chromium are trivalent chromium, also known as chromium 3, and the metal form, chromium 0. Chromium can convert between chromium-3 and chromium-6 in different environments.