REACH – Applications for authorisation AFA026-01 CrO3

Closed 1 Dec 2022

Opened 6 Oct 2022


Public consultation on alternatives

Reference: AFA026-01

ApplicantSurface Engineering Association Chromium Trioxide Authorisation Consortium

Application type: Initial

Substance name: Chromium Trioxide

EC Number: 215-607-8

CAS Number: 1333-82-0

Annex 14 Entry Number: 16

Proposed use: Industrial use of chromium trioxide for the functional chromium electroplating of technical components.

Broad information on use applied for (conditions of use and function): 

Use of chromium trioxide for the electroplating of various components with technical performance requirements, such as for the brewery industry, construction sector, general engineering, classic/vintage cars & motorcycles, sanitaryware & plumbing with the purpose of creating a coating to provide specific performance characteristics, and to match existing components and those supplied from other sources. Performance characteristics of the chrome plating include corrosion resistance, chemical resistance, wear/abrasion resistance, adhesions, UV resistance, heat resistance and visual appearance.

Functional chrome plating with decorative character represents the surface treatment of metal or other surfaces with a water-based chromium trioxide mixture (namely chromic acid) to deposit a thin metallic chromium outer layer using an electrolytic plating process. The surface of the finishes product is entirely free of hexavalent chrome, with the chromium coating being essentially inert. The metallic chromium electroplating coating is fully recyclable.

The chromium plating is the outer layer of a multi-layer plating coating process, typically involving the plating of separate initial layers of copper and/or nickel on to the product’s substrate before the final, outer chromium coating is applied in the chrome plating tank. Between each plating layer, the components are rinsed in a clean water tank. In simple terms, electroplating is achieved by passing an electric current between two electrodes which are immersed in an electrolyte bath comprising of chromic acid. One of the electrodes will be the substrate which is to be plated. During the flow of electricity between the two electrodes, chromium atoms are deposited in a layer on the electrode to be plated. The thickness of the resultant chromium plating layer is dependent upon the length of time that the component is immersed in the chrome plating tank with the electrical current turned on. Decorative chromium plating has been commercially available since the 1920s, and the process has continued to be improved and developed.

This application covers the use of chromium trioxide for electroplating at 34 separate companies. The total annual tonnage involved in this application is between 11 and 14 tonnes, inclusive of the tonnages in the legacy and the sanitaryware/plumbing uses, each of which are also included in their own separate applications. The requested review period for this application is 12 years.

List of descriptors:

  • Life cycle stage (LCS): Use at industrial site
  • Sector of end Use (SU): 0 (Other: manufacture of plated products for various industry sectors)
  • Product Category (PC): 14 (Metal surface treatment products) 
  • Process Category (PROC): 1, 4, 8b, 13, 28 
  • Environmental Release Category (ERC): ERC6B 
  • Article Category related to subsequent service life (AC): N/A 
  • Technical Function: Plating agent

Annual tonnage used: 

  • 11 to 14 tonnes

Review period requested: 12 years

How to submit comments

Provide some basic information on possible alternative(s) in the online survey below but more detailed information should be provided in document(s) prepared using the commenting templates in the related section below. A “public version” should always be completed and will be published after the consultation has closed. If you want to include confidential information in your submission, please additionally complete a “confidential version” and submit both versions as attachments.

The consultation lasts for 8 weeks (unless otherwise specified) and closes at 23:59 London time (BST).


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