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Monday, Dec. 1, 1997

Repeat of a Sellout

by Ted Mooney

Went to a local joint meeting of the plating societies. The speaker was excellent and talked about the 'Government Action Committee', a joint committee of AESF, NAMF, and MFSA which attempts the laudable work of steering the U.S. government away from legislating us all out of business.

But on one of the specifics, he nailed the government for wanting a chromium PEL of 0.5 versus the 100 that it is today. He mocked the evidence that hex chrome was carcinogenic, and said that the government picked the number out of a hat and there was no science to it. So I asked him what the 'Government Action Committee' thought the PEL ought to be; I got no answer, just a stall.

Look, I don't know if hex chrome is really carcinogenic or not--but it has been known since 1928 that it is significantly unhealthful, and causes nasal perforations ("chrome holes") and chrome ulcers. Nobody is dumb enough to deny this.

As an industry knowing full well of this problem, where was the 'Business Action Committee' to attempt the laudable work of steering business toward doing the right thing? Even now, instead of proposing a PEL that we think will both do the job and be economically achievable, what are we doing? Absolutely nothing. Oh, except mocking people for the flaws in their efforts to rectify the situation. And after we've sat on our hands for 69 years. We should be ashamed.

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