The first citizen engagement event on plating technologies and safe- and sustainable-be-design approach was organized by our partner Creative Nano at the end of September. The event was open to the public and it was a great opportunity to present the FreeMe project and discuss with citizens, youth and professionals about the project’s scope and objectives.
While explaining the challenges that FreeMe aims to address, the most asked question was “Why are we still using hexavalent chromium in the plating industry, even though we know it is toxic and carcinogenic?”. And this is what we aim to explain in this post.
We didn’t just discover that chromium (VI) is a toxic element. There have been numerous toxicology reports highlighting the dangers linked to its use. Despite the known dangers, chromium (VI) is still used in several industries, including the plating industry. Due to its widespread use in many different processes, the transition to safer chemicals requires systematic study.
Chromium (VI) is used in many applications and there is no universal alternative. For each application, there should be a separate investigation of the chemical that can possibly be the replacement. As a result, a total ban on its use is not to be expected, at least not yet, as this would induce a crisis in many industrial sectors, including the plating industry.
The FreeMe project proposes an alternative to chromium (VI) use in the plating on plastics process, based on safer and REACH compliant chemicals. The proposed technology will be investigated during the project implementation and validated in three end user applications, in the automotive, aerospace and home appliances sectors.