Survey on technical and economic feasibility of the available alternative for chromium trioxide on the market in hard/functional and decorative chrome plating


Since its invention about 100 years ago chrome plating has become an important industrial process with regard to surface treatment of metal and plastic materials. The process is mainly based on galvanic deposition of metallic chromium from aqueous solutions of hexavalent chromium compounds. In 2013 chromium trioxide (CrO3, EC-Nr. 215-607-8, CAS-Nr. 1333-82-0) one of the most important substances with regard to galvanic chrome plating has been identified as a substance of very high concern (SHVC) in the context of the European Union Regulation 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). Importers or downstream users (in this case: galvanisers and suppliers of respective chemicals) therefore have been obligated to apply for an authorisation according to article 62 if they want to start or continue using or distributing chromium trioxide in the European Union (EU). Since inclusion of chromium trioxide into Annex XIV of REACH (“Authorisation List”) more than 50 applications for authorisation have been received by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), many of them with regard to the application of chromium trioxide for functional or decorative chrome plating. In this survey, information was to be gathered regarding the technical and economic feasibility of alternatives to the use of chromium trioxide for functional and/or decorative chrome plating in order to be able to determine their potential to substitute chromium trioxide and to assess their technical or economic limitations in the respective application areas. However, the analysis of the socioeconomic impact of using alternatives to chromium trioxide-based processes was not within the scope of the study. Chromgruen and VDI Technologiezentrum (VDI TZ) have been assigned by the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) to carry out this survey in December 2018.

German Federal institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 9 April 2020