Workshop on implications of use of trivalent chromium in functional plating with decorative character


The REACH authorisation process has been designed to properly control the risks from substances of very high concern and to progressively replace SVHCs by suitable alternatives (Article 55 of the REACH Regulation). An alternative is suitable, when the risks to human health and the environment are reduced, and it is available and technically and economically feasible.

Trivalent chromium has been identified by a large proportion of applicants as the main alternative to hexavalent chromium in functional plating with decorative character. The question then arises: what are the risks from using this alternative? 

While trivalent chromium is not carcinogenic there is information to indicate that it is used together with borates (SVHC, reprotoxic cat. 1B). Furthermore, the potential upstream exposure to hexavalent chromium is of relevance. Instead of discussing the implications of the use of trivalent chromium in each application separately it was considered opportune to hold a workshop to discuss the implications of using trivalent chromium based plating in a horizontal manner.

The workshop, hosted by ECHA, was held online on 10 October 2022 with 347 participants. It consisted of presentations of experts of functional chrome plating with decorative character and was concluded by a panel, chaired by Tim Bowmer (ECHA) with Dave Elliot (CETS), Matthias Enseling (Hapoc) and Hiram Moerman (Apeiron).


Gain understanding of the implications of the use of trivalent chromium functional plating with decorative character.

Main questions

  1. How trivalent chromium is currently used in functional plating with decorative character. In particular, to what extent are borates used in the process currently, and are there borate free alternatives in the horizon?
  2. What are the health and environmental implications of using trivalent chromium and borates in functional plating with decorative character. Are there mitigation measures that can be implemented and is this relevant for the introduction of an SVHC?
  3. What sources are used to manufacture trivalent chromium and in particular, to what extent is this different from hexavalent chromium?


Monday 10 October 2022, 13:00 - 16:00 Brussels time.


The conclusions of the workshop are here

Cr(III) and Cr(IV) supply chain flowchart





Presentations (PDF)
1 Welcome Matti Vainio, ECHA Download 


The challenge

Hugo Waeterschoot, Eurometaux



Hazard status of Cr(III) and borates

Pablo Regil, ECHA



Monitoring possibilities and monitoring experience for Cr(VI), Cr(III) and borates. What do we know, what don’t we know?

Dave Elliot, CETS



How are Cr(VI) and Cr(III) produced 

Michael Stoffers, Vopelius Chemie AG

Oral presentation given, see conclusions


Cr(III) technology:

- The function of boric acid

- How are exposure and emissions of boric acid considered in the process
- Impurities of Cr(VI) in Cr(III) plating

Joachim Heermann, Max Schlötter  Download


Plating with Cr(III): Its use including exposure to and emissions of Cr(VI) and boric acid

Jérôme Lemoine, Qualipac and Hartmut Birth, on behalf of Kesseböhmer

Download (Qualipac)

Download (Kesseböhmer)


Environmental emissions of borates in plating: current knowledge

Hiram Moerman, Apeiron Download 
9 Is there waste-water treatment technology to remove borates and what are the costs? Christoph Westermann, VDMA  Download