- Knowledge Bank
The so-called REACH Regulation was adopted in 2006. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It stipulates that approval permits are required for the use of substances of very high concern (SVHC).
At the instigation of Germany, chromium trioxide was listed as a SVHC. Since then, the clock has been ticking for the free use of chromium trioxide in the EU. The so-called "sunset date" is the date from which a chemical substance - without having the corresponding approval - may no longer be used or placed on the market under REACH. In the case of chromium trioxide, this date was 21 September 2017. This also applies to warehouse stock and to the aqueous solution of chromium trioxide, which is often referred to as chromic acid.
In order to maintain the possibility of continuous further use within the framework of the REACH Regulation, numerous manufacturer and user consortia have submitted approval applications for chromium trioxide.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), based in Helsinki, is responsible for evaluating these applications. Two committees have been dealing with the topic of chromium trioxide there: the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and the Socio-economic Analysis Committee (SEAC). In the meantime, they have recommended that the EU Commission approve six applications. According to their final recommendations, if chromium trioxide is further used in the EU, the risks to human health are significantly lower than the overall benefits of further use. Normally, the EU Commission follows ECHA's recommendations.
However, the Zentralverband Oberflächentechnik e.V. currently does not expect the EU Commission to issue this approval before the sunset date. In this case, special regulations apply for the interim periods.
If the EU Commission, as expected, follows the recommendations of the ECHA committees, nothing will change for buyers of chromic acid-based surfaces: they can still obtain chromed surfaces for the approved applications after 21 September 2017 without further restrictions. This pertains to the duration of the specified review period, which is four years for "functional chrome plating with decorative character".
Within this time window, coaters must have implemented a chromium-VI-free alternative technology or have had an application for authorisation extension approved.
In the electroplating process, chromium is deposited as a metal and lies on the carrier material (e.g. metal, plastic) as an end surface in neutral form, chromium-0, and is therefore non-toxic. Therefore there is no potential danger for users and consumers.
The required properties of this chrome coating are its very good corrosion resistance, abrasion resistance as well as the color stability of this metal, which are currently not fully achieved by alternatives.
Research is currently being carried out into process-reliable and suitable alternatives that can completely replace a chromium-VI coating.
If you have any further questions on this topic, please contact us. We take our role as a downstream user and the associated obligations and tasks with regard to the European chemicals legislation REACH very seriously, and would therefore gladly provide you with detailed information.
Chromium-III and VI are used for decorative chrome plating in the following industries, among others
WIOTEC® is a member of VECCO e.V., the association for preserving the use and utilization of chromium trioxide and other chromium-VI compounds in surface technology. => Link to www.vecco.de
The aim of this association is to prove that its members have long been in a position to properly and professionally deal with the substance CHROMIUM-VI in its compounds and to harm neither their employees nor the environment. This is already guaranteed by existing applicable regulations and laws.
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WIOTEC® Ense GmbH & Co. KG
Auf den Geeren 9-11
59469 Ense-Höingen, Germany
WIOTEC® Arnsberg GmbH & Co. KG
59759 Arnsberg, Germany
+49 2938 97833-0
+49 2938 97833-20
From metal to precious metal
The company WIOTEC® is your specialist for surface finishing and metalworking. In our electroplating shop, which is managed according to the latest environmental standards, we are capable of finishing both small parts and long parts of up to six meters. This makes us one of the leading and most efficient decorative surface coaters in Europe.
Our most important resource is our employees - with their commitment, competence and experience. Together with them, we work out and develop individual and tailor-made solutions for our customers. From detailed consultation and planning to purchasing, mechanical and chemical pre-treatment, professional electroplating and supplementary services - WIOTEC®'s range of services leaves nothing to be desired.