2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 17:38:12 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PREVENTION: Defense policy to minimize the use of Hexavalent Chromium
On April 8, 2009, John J. Young, Jr, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics signed out a breakthrough Memorandum, "Minimizing the Use of Hexavalent Chromium (Cr6+).

The Memorandum begins:

"Cr6+ is a significant chemical in numerous Department of Defense (DoD) weapons systems and platforms due to its corrosion protection properties. However, due to the serious human health and environmental risks related to its use, national and international restrictions and controls are increasing. These restrictions will continue to increase the regulatory burdens and life cycle costs for DoD and decrease materiel availability. OSD [Office of the Secretary of Defense], DoD Components, and industry have made substantial investments in finding suitable replacements for Cr6+ for many of the current DoD applications. In particular, a number of defense-related industries are minimizing or eliminating the use of Cr6+ where proven substitutes are available that provide acceptable performance for the application."

Young directs the military departments to develop, test, use, and specify substitutes. He requires approval of the Program Executive Officer for any use of Cr6+ in a new system. And he orders, "The Defense Acquisition Regulation Council will prepare a clause for defense contracts prohibiting the use of Cr6+ containing materials in all future procurements unless specifically approved by the Government."

The Memorandum adds, "This policy applies to all new program starts, new program increments, and procurement of infrastructure materials, goods, and services. Application of this policy to legacy systems will be limited to modifications where alternatives can be inserted in the system modification process and updated maintenance procedures."

I consider this policy a breakthrough, not only because it's a major step in eliminating a seriously toxic substance from military products, but because the Defense Department is taking action prior to any formal moves by U.S. regulators to tighten hexavalent chromium exposure standards.


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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