Chromium-51 is a radioactive isotope of the metal Chromium (Cr), meaning it gives off radiation as it breaks up. This quality makes it useful in medical diagnoses, and also toxic if contamination occurs.
Chromium-51 is a Cr radioactive isotope with a half-life of 27.7 days. It is both extremely toxic if direct exposure occurs, and extremely useful as a diagnostic aid, especially for blood-related pathology.
The Cr-51 isotope can be injected into the body, where it gives off traceable radiation that can indicate various medical parameters. It is mainly used for:
Gamma and x-ray radiation from Cr-51 can be fatal in large doses or with sustained exposure, which is why Chromium 51 must be stored in lead containers or behind lead shielding, and only handled with protective gear on.
Cr-51 is toxic through both external and internal exposure. If internal exposure occurs, Cr-51 tends to deposit in the lungs, lower large intestine and kidneys, causing cancer and internal organ dysfunctions.
Milder exposure can result in skin rashes and respiratory tract irritations, asthma, chronic rhinitis, polyps or ulceration of the nasal mucosa.