Car badges and trims, games consoles and mobile phones, just a few of the everyday items that contain a plastic component that has been chrome plated. So how is the future of plated plastics going to be affected by the inclusion of chromium trioxide in the amendments to the SVHC list?
The SVHC list is a document which contains many chemicals used in the plating industry that are deemed by the ECHA and the European Union to be substances of very high concern. Furthermore, if you use any of these chemicals in a quantity of 1 tonne or more per year, you will need to be compliant with the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) Directive.
has been in place since 2007, but requires all chemicals in the SVHC list to be registered with the ECHA by a deadline of 2018. Its objective is to ensure that industry is responsible for the safe use of chemicals throughout the entire supply chain.
Following a public consultation which closed in April 2016, it is almost certain that chromium trioxide, which is used in the chrome plating of plastics, will be included, as will chemicals such as cadmium and boric acid used in other plating processes on different substrates. These chemicals are likely to be included on the list as they are found to be either toxic or a known carcinogen and mutagen and prove to have a serious impact on human health as well as the environment.
Although this change to the legislation will not stop companies carrying out chrome plating of plastics, it will put an extra burden on them to register the chemicals and follow strict guidelines for the use and disposal of chromium trioxide and hexavalent chromium.
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