Hexavalent Chromium Prop 65 Update
The California Office of Health Hazard Assessment (CA OEHHA) has issued a proposed rulemaking that will eliminate hexavalent chromium from the short list of substances that are hazardous only by inhalation. Doing this involves amending Section 25707(b)(4) to remove the mention of hexavalent chromium as posing no significant risk by the oral route. The comment period has been extended to November 30, 2011 as per the request from the American Chemistry Council and the California Manufacturers and Technology Association.
Chromium is often used in jewelry as a pigment, as the coating on stainless steel, or even as a plating material. According to most reputable sources, stainless steel should not present a hazard due to hexavalent chromium. Pigments, such as lead chromate (yellow, chrome green, molybdenum orange), zinc chromate, barium chromate, calcium chromate, potassium dichromate, and sodium chromate, contain chromium and potentially the hexavalent variety. Chromium plating is rarely used in jewelry.
Companies may want to evaluate their use of chromium-containing pigments in particular. Should the proposed rule become part of Prop 65, all consumer products will be subject to legal liability from hexavalent chromium content.