Testing for chromium VI is not an unnecessary luxury in the inspection of engineering works.
The law does not currently require chromium VI exposure testing to be performed by an accredited laboratory. However, increasingly more clients are explicitly expressing their preference for this. RPS is the first company in the Netherlands to be accredited by the Dutch Accreditation Council for the determination of chromium VI in paint. As a result, the quality of these procedures will also be guaranteed in the future by independent external parties.
Chromium VI in the paint industry
Chromium VI has been used in the paint and steel industry for decades. This produced variant of natural chromium easily binds to all types of metals and can be processed in wood, paint, and plastic, among other things. It offers extra firmness and protection against corrosion. It is not harmful in solid form, but when it is released as a substance, even a small amount can be carcinogenic. Companies working on old metal coated with chromium VI-based paint are especially at risk.
The EU restricts the use of chromium VI in metal treatment; use is subject to authorisation. This will significantly reduce the quantity of chromium VI-treated products and objects on the market. However, the industry will continue to be confronted by the challenges that old chromium VI-based coatings present in the decades to come. Companies are advised to determine whether chromium VI-based coatings have been applied to the object. RPS analysts can test samples in their own laboratories to determine the concentration of this toxic substance. Based on the results, a personal protection regime can then be put in place.
Clients who work with accredited companies are assured of proper compliance with the measurement protocols used in the exposure test. In addition to accreditation for testing for chromium VI in paint, RPS already has an accreditation for chromium VI analysis in air. An overview of the accredited operations is available at www.rva.nl (Dutch link, English language optional) under registration number L192. The limit for occupational exposure to chromium VI was reduced by a factor of 10 on 1 March 2017. This requires rigorous focus on the concentration of chromium VI in the workplace. Some of the tested workplaces, for example, must be retested against the current requirements.
Chromium VI has been used in the paint and steel industry for decades.
Publication of health effects
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has published the scientific literature review of the effects of chromium VI on human health. The RIVM examined, among other things, the diseases that are likely to be caused by chromium VI. This is an important step towards clarity for all concerned.