- Hexavalent Chromium or Chromium-6, is a toxic, chemical compound (Yellow Dichromate is the pigment color of the inexpensive lead base) commonly used in anti-corrosion surface coatings on tie down strap hardware shipped to the United States from China. Chromic acid is electroplated onto metal parts and if welded to, ground down or used around high heat, oxidation converts chromium to a hexavalent state. This inhaled hexavalent chromium is recognized as a human carcinogen and is prohibited in the European Union. Hexavalent Chromium was also the contaminant blamed for polluting the drinking water of Hinkley, California in the famed movie, Erin Brockovich. Many imported tie downs warn consumers to wear gloves or wash their hands immediately after use, no doubt concerned about ingesting contaminants resulting from the manufacturing process.
- Trivalent Chromium or Chromium-3 is a safer (essentially a human nutrient) non-toxic alternative chromate conversion becoming more common on hardware, recognized by bluish-green or greenish-yellow smoky hues.