Chrome Plating Operations

This page last reviewed January 9, 2013

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Chrome plating is the process by which an electrical charge is applied to a plating bath containing an electrolytic salt (chromium anhydride) solution. The electrical charge causes the chromium metal in the bath to fall out of solution and deposit onto various objects (usually metallic) placed into the plating bath. Chrome plating operations are categorized based upon the thickness of the chromium metal layer applied. In decorative plating, a layer of nickel is first plated over a metal substrate. Following this step, a thin layer of chromium is deposited over the nickel layer to provide a decorative and protective finish, for example, on faucets and automotive wheels. Hard chrome plating is a process in which a thicker layer of chromium metal is deposited directly on metal substrates such as engine parts, industrial machinery, and tools to provide greater protection against corrosion and wear. Chromic acid anodizing is an electrochemical conversion process that creates a wear and corrosion resistant surface on metal objects but does not result in a metallic chromium layer. The electrical charge during the chrome plating process causes the hexavalent chromium to be emitted from the bath as an aerosol that, once emitted from the facility, can be inhaled and entrained inside the lungs. In a similar manner hexavalent chromium mist is generated during chromic acid anodizing operations. Thus, hexavalent chromium emissions have the potential to adversely impact public health on a statewide basis, as well as at the local community level.


Many chrome plating shops are small operations that have been in business for many years and may be located in close proximity to residences or schools. For these reasons it is imperative that ARB, in joint effort with the local air districts, continue to evaluate the status of chrome plating operations in California to ensure that the levels of chromium do not pose health concerns to nearby residences or schools.


This site contains information related to California’s chrome plating regulation.If you have any questions concerning California’s chrome plating regulation, please refer to the Contact List for the appropriate ARB staff person.If you would like to be notified of news related to the chrome plating regulation, please subscribe to the chrome plating e-mail list server.  

What's New?

Description  Date Posted
  • Agenda and Staff Presentation for the Public Workshop to Discuss Proposed Amendments to the Chrome Plating ATCM
January 9, 2013
December 14, 2012


For more information, please contact Michelle Komlenic.


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