One of the hoary traditions of industrial hygiene is that chromium compounds will not attack the unbroken skin. In view of the increasing use of chromium through the advent of chromium plating, stainless steel and photolithography, all resulting in increased exposure to chromium, it becomes desirable to point out the error in the assumption that a break in the integument is requisite to chromium action. In the past, chromium dermatoses with a preinjured skin have been described, but these statements have been effectively overshadowed by the repeated implication that an injured skin is a necessary forerunner to chromium action.
This situation is largely due to confusion between "chrome holes" and chromium dermatitis. The deep undermining "chrome hole" is nearly always preceded by a break in the integument, while the superficial dermatitis may follow direct irritation of normal skin. In support of this attitude we present observations from the experimental application
McCORD CP, HIGGINBOTHAM HG, McGUIRE JC. EXPERIMENTAL CHROMIUM DERMATITIS. JAMA. 1930;94(14):1043–1044. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02710400015005