CARB to Phase Out the Use of Hexavalent Chromium

In May, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) passed updates to its rules on airborne toxics that will phase out the use of hexavalent chromium from plating and anodizing facilities. Facilities must transition to currently available, less toxic options between  2027 to 2030. Functional platers, where alternatives are being developed have a deadline of  2039.  Businesses are required to meet best management practice measures, such as spill prevention and enhanced cleanup of hexavalent chromium by 2024. 

After receiving a series of odor complaints from locals, including an elementary school teacher who was alarmed by the number of students and staff dealing with serious illnesses, South Coast AQMD began investigating local sources of emissions in the City of Paramount. Air monitoring data showed elevated levels of nickel and hexavalent chromium at a metal forging facility. The facility implemented measures that substantially reduced nickel levels, however hexavalent chromium levels remained elevated. In response, South Coast AQMD launched an effort that included extensive monitoring, multi-agency collaboration and community involvement. The monitoring data showed that anodizing facilities in paramount were discovered to have large emissions of hexavalent chromium.  Since then, a range of improvements were made by facilities— some voluntary, and more that will continue to result from rule changes. 

Hexavalent chromium is a known human carcinogen with no known safe level of exposure. CARB estimates that there are more than 110 permitted facilities in California that use hexavalent chromium. Approximately 70% of the businesses are in Southern California, which is the nation’s highest concentration of chrome platers.

For updates on this investigation, please visit our Paramount Emissions Investigation webpage.

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