PHOENIX-Pantheon Chemical Co. said the Science and Engineering Laboratories at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT, have been named a recipient of the EPA Regional Administrative Award for Environmental Excellence as a result of the Air Force base's action in eliminating the use of chromated conversion coatings for aircraft-finishing operations.

The EPA award is presented to individuals and groups who have made "exceptional contributions to the protection of human health and the environment."

In dropping the use of chromated conversion coatings, Hill AFB switched to non-chromate-containing products supplied by Pantheon Chemical and sold commercially under the brand name PreKote Surface Pretreatment.

Hill AFB initiated the change in 1996 when it received Pollution Prevention funding to evaluate alternatives to chromated conversion coatings used in the pretreatment of aircraft. The goal was the elimination of worker and environmental exposure to highly soluble and carcinogenic concentrations of hexavalent chromium. As a result of the efforts, the U.S. Air Force is reportedly moving toward the complete discontinuation of the use of chromated conversion coatings, Pantheon said.

The company said the pretreatment technology also is being used at Air Force bases in Oklahoma and Texas, with programs under way to adopt the technology at other bases in Oklahoma and Georgia.