Chromic acid contains a toxic air contaminant called hexavalent chromium. This pollutant can cause serious illness or death by skin contact or inhalation. Due to these factors, laws are in place to control the hazards of chrome plating. They are often state mandated and may vary by state, but contain common elements and concerns.
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Chrome plating is a wet chemical process and operators must wear safety glasses and protective clothing. Chromium spills must be cleaned up within one hour of the occurrence. Contaminated surfaces must be cleaned at least once a week. Chromic acid powder must be stored in a closed container and chromium waste must be stored and disposed of according to hazardous waste requirements.
Chemical fume suppressants that reduce or suppress fumes must be added to the plating bath. Additionally, air pollution control equipment must be installed in the ventilation structure of chrome plating and anodising tanks to amass and confine chromium emissions. Drip trays must be installed between tanks and splash guards must be installed on tanks. A physical barrier must be installed to separate grinding, polishing and buffing areas from process operation areas.
Facility operators must monitor and maintain all equipment meters and gauges. This includes totalizers that measure the total amount of amperes per hour, magnahelic gauges that measure pressure drop and stalagmometers that measure the surface tension of the chromium bath. Records verifying regulation compliance must be maintained and kept for five years. Individuals must complete an environmental compliance training course to maintain records.
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