Current coating technology utilizes heavy-metal anti-corrosion pigments in the primer to provide high-performance/heavy-duty corrosion protections for metals. For years, the most effective anti-corrosion pigments were those that contained hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), which is highly toxic and carcinogenic. The toxicity of Cr6+ became well known to the general public through the 2000 Oscar-nominated film Erin Brockovich. The film depicted the real-life story of hexavalent chromium leakage that contaminated both groundwater and drinking water in the small California desert town of Hinkley, and led to the largest legal settlement in U.S. history.
Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen for humans and it may contaminate water, soil and air, and harm plants and animals alike. A 2010 study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) discovered that Cr6+ was present in the tap water of 31 of the 35 U.S. cities sampled, and 25 of them were at a level above the California-proposed safe maximum.1