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 for the Air Force base's elimination of chromated conversion coatings for aircraft-finishing operations. The EPA award is presented to individuals and groups that have made "exceptional contributions to the protection of human health and the environment."

In place of chromated conversion coatings, Hill AFB switched to nonchromate-containing products supplied by Pantheon Chemical Co. (Phoenix) and sold commercially under the brand name PreKote Surface Pretreatment.

Hill AFB initiated the change in 1996 when it received 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 Air Force is reportedly moving toward the complete discontinuation of chromated conversion coatings.

According to Pantheon, several other Air Force bases in Oklahoma, Texas and Georgia are in the process of switching to PreKote. The company also says that the product is currently deployed on 1,500 Air Force aircraft.