Chromium Electroplaters

Contact: Environmental Assistance Center, 800-662-9278
Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

Picture of chrome plating dip machine.

In November 1994, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued national regulations (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants or NESHAP) to control air emission of chromium from chromium electroplating and anodizing tanks. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 directs the USEPA to regulate emissions from a number of toxic chemicals, including chromium, from a wide range of industrial sources. Chromium electroplating and anodizing tanks are one of the largest sources of chromium emissions in the United States. The hexavalent form of chromium is highly toxic and a known human carcinogen, causing lung cancer. Less is known about the cancer risk of the trivalent form of chromium, but it can accumulate in the lungs and may result in decreased lung function after continuous exposure.

Over 5,000 facilities perform chromium electroplating and/or anodizing in the United States. Many facilities are small job shops that are located near residential areas. Hard chromium electroplating operations deposit a thick layer of chromium directly on a base metal to provide wear and corrosion resistance, low friction, and hardness (for hydraulic cylinders, industrial rolls, etc.). Decorative chromium electroplating operations deposit a think layer of chromium on a base metal, plastic, or undercoating to provide a bright finish and wear and tarnish resistance (for bicycles, auto trim, tools, etc.). Chromium anodizing operations form a chromium oxide layer on aluminum to provide corrosion and wear resistance (for aircraft parts, architectural structures, etc.). Except for the trichrome decorative process, which uses the trivalent form of chromium, all other electroplating processes use the hexavalent form of chromium.

The Chromium Plating NESHAP is enforced by each district office of the Air Quality Division, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

As of September 21, 2015, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)-based fume suppressants are prohibited from being added to tanks subject to the chromium electroplating NESHAP (Subpart N). Subpart N defines PFOS-based fume suppressants as a fume suppressant that contains one percent or greater PFOS by weight.

Technical Assistance Resources

Recordkeeping and Reporting Forms

  • NESHAP for Chromium Emissions from Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks: Use this set of twelve forms to comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Chromium Emissions from Hard and Decorative Chromium Electroplating and Chromium Anodizing Tanks.
  • Reporting Forms
    • Notification of Construction/Reconstruction: Word, PDF
    • Notification of Performance Test: Word, PDF
    • Performance Test Results: Word, PDF
    • Notification of Compliance Status: Word, PDF
    • Ongoing Compliance Status: Word, PDF
  • Recordkeeping Forms
    • Composite Mesh-Pad Systems or Combination Packed-Bed Scrubber/Composite Mesh-Pad Systems Operation and Maintenance: Word, PDF
    • Fiber-Bed Mist Eliminators Operation and Maintenance: Word, PDF
    • Packed-Bed Scrubbers Operation and Maintenance: Word, PDF
    • Monitoring Data: Word, PDF
    • Daily Process Operations: Word, PDF
    • Fume Suppressants

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