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Use of solvents in chrome plating shops

Does every chrome plater use solvent in its plating operations? Any exceptions?

Ken Chiang
- Los Angeles, California, USA

Interestingly, we got the same question from regulators on both coasts this week -- with no context or explanation of what solvents you might be thinking of, in what volume, or why. I've asked the other regulator to provide context, but he hasn't responded yet. Hopefully you will, Mr. Chiang.

Years ago all chrome plating shops used solvents because de-oiling is an essential step in between machining (with its cutting oils) and the perfectly clean waterbreak-free surface required for chrome plating. But in order to limit relentless environmental harassment, many chrome platers no longer buy or use solvents. Instead they simply cap any tubular components they receive, so that the dirty oil that was in them stays in them, and goes right back to the consumer who is then forced to remove it himself.

This reaction to being made the goat has guaranteed the wide dispersion of solvents in consumers' basements and their garages, and dumping in the woods and streams behind their homes, because consumers must now, rather ridiculously, solvent clean their own parts. It also guarantees that explosive solvents like gasoline will continue to be used for cleaning by consumers no matter how many maimings occur every year because the over-regulated plating shops now do not have solvents in their shops.

Hopefully regulators are working to fix this unintended consequence of over-eager regulation of job shops, so that industrial cleaning will once again be done by industry, by trained operators in a proper setting, rather than being done by untrained and unprepared consumers, with gasoline and who knows what other explosives and carcinogens, in their basements or kitchens, with the waste being dumped behind the house or flushed down the toilet.

Hopefully you are asking because you are trying to get a plating shop to resume the practice in order to stop this environmental disgrace that has been caused by harassing plating shops to death and thus pushing industrial cleaning back down to consumers. If I misunderstood the question, sorry, please clarify it. Thanks.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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