LA Times Spotlights California Hex Chrome Ban

LA Times published two columns on California’s proposed ban on Hexavalent Chromium.

Tony Briscoe, Staff Writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote the recent January column” California wants to ban the toxic chemical that gives chrome its classic shine” which details the California Air Resources Board’s push to ban hexavalent chromium and its widespread effects nationwide.

Briscoe interviewed Jane Williams, executive director of California Communities Against Toxics, who shared “We would be the first jurisdiction in the world to phase out hexavalent chromium in the plating industry. Even the EU hasn’t done it, because they haven’t found a substitute for crucial uses. We would be working with the industry and the military to actually identify new coatings. That’s precedent-setting.”

However, the chrome plating industry facilities in California are already complying with the strictest regulations in the United States The proposed ban would also affect aerospace companies and defense contractors because hexavalent chromium coating currently meets the U.S. Department of Defense thickness, hardness, and corrosion resistance specifications.

Metal Finishing Association of California’s Executive Director, Bryan Leiker also spoke to Mr. Briscoe at LA Times about the impacts CARB’s hex chrome ban would have on the plating industry. Leiker also shared research-backed findings on the true state data of hex chrome pollution and emissions.

(Photo Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“California is trying to force something to happen that’s not ready to happen. The consequences are going to be disastrous because you can lose an entire industry… We’re less than 1% of emissions statewide, but we’re the only industry facing a ban right now.”

– Bryan Leiker

LA Times Column: “Why California’s anti-chromers can’t see the forest for the trees”

Gustavo Arellano, Columnist for the Los Angeles Times, interviewed a chroming legend and did extensive research on public reports about the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) proposed Hex Chrome Ban which plans to ban “decorative and functional hexavalent chromium plating and anodizing operations” in California.

When Mr. Arellano interviewed SoCal chroming legend Luis “Speedy” Rodriguez, he shared “ ‘This is the majority of my life. … It would be sad. There’s people who’ve been doing this for a lot of years, and — boom! — no job.’ He noted that customers would just ship out parts to other states, or drive down to Tijuana.”

(Photo Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Gustavo Arellano read the California Air Resources Board’s 253-page report and stated he, “felt its authors were committing two bureaucratic sins more and more in vogue in Sacramento: Create a solution in search of a problem, and miss the forest for the trees.” He also found out that industrial and decorative chroming was not at the top of the list for hexavalent chromium emissions. Manufacturers of glass and lumber, vehicle exhaust, fossil fuel burning, and even residential gas stoves were by far worse hex chrome emission offenders, yet the ban is focused on chrome businesses in California. Arellano found that chroming professionals and clients feel that the issue should be able to be solved in a much better way than the proposed ban.

“Chrome is magic,” Luis “Speedy” Rodriguez said as we walked around his compound. “When you see it on a car, it’s inexplicable.”

Both Los Angeles Times columns bring up great points from various points of view regarding the upcoming proposed hexavalent chromium ban set to be finalized in May. While everyone can agree that improving air quality and reducing pollution are important to state goals instituting outright bans is not viewed by most to be the best way to accomplish it. Both writers, Tony Briscoe and Gustavo Arellano, found the chrome plating industry and its clients to be frustrated with the proposed changes and the “politics” of it all causing more hurdles for businesses and facilities to jump through.

The Metal Finishing Association of California is appreciative of the LA Times for bringing the hex chrome ban into the public news spotlight and our organization will continue to work hard to keep chrome plating in California.

Learn more hex chrome ban details and read both full LA Times columns below.