Hexavalent Chromium vs Trivalent Chromium Plating
Chromium plating is the coating of choice for many metal finishing applications, primarily due to its superior wear resistance, surface hardness, and bright aesthetics when compared to other metal finishes. The compound Hexavalent Chromium (CR6) has been part of the metal finishing industry since chrome electroplating was first commercialized. From those humble beginnings, the chrome plating industry has grown to thousands of businesses, producing tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Most of this growth took place long before the EPA released its toxicology review (3) concerning the harmful effects of Hex Chrome. Almost eighty years after the Chrome Plating Industry was born in 1924 (1), OSHA identified hex chrome (CR6) as carcinogenic (2) and therefore harmful to employees when exposed to its fumes. Since then, scientists have set out to find a safer alternative to hexavalent chromium that would deliver equivalent results.