Sustainability in the fastener industry.

Scrutinized by the European Union, regulated by the state of California, and labeled a “carcinogen to workers” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), zinc yellow with hexavalent chromate has become a term industrial fastener buyers must be aware of, as environmental safety and sustainability become front and center policy in most every global organization.

Zinc yellow fasteners with hexavalent chromate are common, as the plating has attractive anticorrosive properties that can be used for a wide variety of applications. While such fasteners are not outright banned for sale, industrial buyers are avoiding them.

According to OSHA, workplace exposure to hexavalent chromate may cause lung cancer in workers who breathe airborne hexavalent chromate. In addition, it may cause irritation or damage to the nose, throat, and lungs if ingested at elevated levels. Direct skin contact with hexavalent chromate can cause non-allergic skin irritation. Contact with non-intact skin can also lead to chrome ulcers, which are lesions on the hands or in the nasal cavity.

Much of the risk is borne by workers who are in and around the processing and plating of fasteners using hexavalent chromate. Which means that such fasteners, if restricted, may be less available, if available at all. Thus, zinc yellow fasteners may not be available if the demand for hexavalent chromate falls; buyers will need to be prepared to source alternatives. The team at Earnest Machine is ready to help you source alternatives to zinc yellow with hexavalent chromate. Call +44 (0) 1902 711041 to speak with an Earnest Machine sales representative for available options.

For more information on what steps have been taken to limit the impact zinc yellow with hexavalent chromate has on the environment and human health, download our whitepaper on “Sustainability in the fastener industry.” 

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