Chromium plating, the familiar tough, lustrous finish on household furnishings, hospital equipment and automotive components, which is also applied extensively to corrosion and wear resistant engineering surfaces, is made from chromic acid. Other applications for chromium chemicals include high performance refractories, wood preservatives for industrial applications including marine piles and bridges and pigments for ceramics, plastics, coatings and cosmetics. The global leather industry relies on chromic sulphate for tanning animal hides, and the high chromium content super-alloys in gas turbine engines are derived from chromic oxide.Other applications for chromium chemicals include high performance refractories, and pigments for ceramics, plastics, coatings and cosmetics. These products have proven over a long period of time to be highly effective and virtually indispensable, but there are hazards associated with some chromium chemicals that need to be understood and managed.
Chromium exists in three distinct forms or valency states: metallic, trivalent and hexavalent. The hazards and practices relating to managing the risk vary depending on the form present. Metallic chromium, present in chromium-plated objects and alloys such as stainless steels, is essentially inert. Trivalent compounds occur naturally in the environment in mineral ores, are the most stable and are not classified as hazardous. Commercial uses include pigments, refractories and leather tanning.
Hexavalent chromium compounds do have recognized hazards and are regulated accordingly. They occur in the primary manufacturing process and are used in some downstream process industries, such as chromium plating. Elementis Chromium works to manage these hazards responsibly during manufacture and for the purposes of distribution.
In addition to complying with relevant regulations, we work with customers, industry associations, scientific experts and authorities to provide product stewardship and facilitate best practice and understanding in health, safety and environmental issues, consistent with the principles of the global chemical industry’s Responsible Care program.
As one of the leading producers of chromium chemicals in the world, Elementis is committed to providing these vitally important products to industry in a safe and responsible way.