In February 2019, the REACH Committee of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) decided to give companies using chromium trioxide (CrO3) in electroplating on plastic parts a maximum of 7 years to reassess the availability of safer alternatives or substitute the substance earlier when possible. Chromium trioxide is a carcinogenic substance and has long been a substance of very high concern (SVHC) in Europe. It is still widely used in chrome electroplating.
The shorter authorization period, 7 years from the 2017 sunset date, should help incentivize industries to look at alternative coating methodologies. PVD is a fully mature substitute technology. An alliance of PVD providers, uniting the big players in the market, has been a clear voice promoting PVD as alternative to electroplating.