From: Kyodo News International, Tokyo
Published January 12, 2005 12:00 AM

Kobe Steel to Halt Output of Steel Treated with Harmful Chemical

Jan. 12—TOKYO — Kobe Steel Ltd. said Wednesday it will halt production of hot-dip galvanized steel sheets treated


with hexavalent chromium, a chemical used to boost corrosion resistance but widely seen as harmful to the environment.





The company said production will be phased out by March 31, 2006.





Hot-dip galvanized steel sheet products have been used in home electrical appliances for years due to their anti-


corrosiveness and enhanced paintability.





The steelmaker earlier decided to halt by March 31 this year the production of electrogalvanized steel sheets whose surfaces


are treated with the same chemical.





Kobe Steel will become the first Japanese steelmaker not to use hexavalent chromium in the surface treatment of galvanized


steel.





Kobe Steel is taking this step because home electrical appliance makers and other major clients are moving toward using


materials that pose less hazard to the environment and human health, Kobe officials said.





In addition, the global market is becoming more environmentally-conscious, as evidenced by the European Union's planned


imposition of RoHS directives from July 2006, they said.





RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment.





The RoHS bans the use of hexavalent chromium and some other substances.





Kobe Steel said it has developed a hot-dip galvanized steel sheet process that does not use hexavalent chromium.





Although it has annually produced some 600,000 tons of hot-dip galvanized sheet treated with hexavalent chromium, it will


gradually substitute the newly developed hot-dip sheet and halt output using the chemical completely in March 2006.





To see more of Kyodo News International, go to http://www.kyodonews.com


© 2005, Kyodo News International, Tokyo. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.



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