Effect of addition of municipal solid waste compost (MSWC) on chromium (Cr) content of submerged rice paddies was studied. Experiments were conducted during the three consecutive wet seasons from 1997 to 1999 on rice grown under submergence, at the Experimental Farm of Calcutta University, India. A sequential extraction method was used to determine the various chromium fractions in MSWC and cow dung manure (CDM). Chromium was significantly bound to the organic matter and Fe and Mn oxides in MSWC and CDM. Chromium content in rice straw was higher than in rice grain. Chromium bound with organic matter in MSWC best correlated with straw Cr (r = 0.99**) followed by Fe and Mn oxides (r = 0.97*) and water soluble as well as exchangeable fractions (r = 0.96*). The water soluble and the exchangeable fractions in MSWC best correlated with grain Cr (r = 0.98*). The Cr content of rice grain had the highest correlation with water soluble and exchangeable Cr (r = 0.99**) while the straw Cr best correlated with the Fe and Mn oxides (r = 0.98*). Both the carbonate bound and residual fractions in MSWC and CDM did not significantly correlate with rice straw and grain Cr. MSWC would be a valuable resource for agriculture if it can be used safely, but long-term use may require the cessation of the dumping by the leather tanneries and other major contributors of pollutants. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.