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Dingell Calls on Major Auto Manufacturers to Source from Environmentally Responsible Suppliers, Remove Hexavalent Chromium from Supply Chain

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) today wrote a letter to the CEOs of Ford Motor Company, Toyota, General Motors, and Stellantis calling on the companies to only engage with environmentally responsible suppliers and stop the use of hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogenic chemical, in their supply chains. This letter follows the release of hexavalent chromium into the Huron River by Tribar Technologies, a supplier for major auto manufacturers.

“On August 1, 2022, we learned of reports of a major hexavalent chromium release near the Huron River watershed from Tribar Technologies Inc., an automotive plating company, located in Wixom, Michigan,” Dingell writes. “While most of the contamination was captured before it could make its way into the environment this could have been a major environmental disaster and the State of Michigan continues to conduct sampling out of an abundance of caution. According to reports, however, it is my understanding that Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, and other companies currently use Tribar Technologies, Inc., which uses hexavalent chromium in its manufacturing process, as supplier. This is unacceptable.”

“Not only is Tribar Technologies, Inc. responsible in this instance, but the company also has a long history of harmful environmental pollution. For instance, it is one of the main companies responsible for the contamination of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in the Huron River—and we know the use of hexavalent chromium typically requires the use of PFAS mist suppressants,” Dingell continues. “This alarming event has reinforced the need for the automotive industry to act immediately to not only remove hexavalent chromium from its supply chains, but the industry must also take meaningful steps to review the actions of its current and future suppliers to ensure they are meeting strong environmental and public health safety standards. Additionally, automotive companies must continually monitor the suppliers they have contracts with for any environmental violations and have zero tolerance when future violations take place. Strong, respectable American companies should hold their suppliers to the same caliber as their own.”

“Michigan put the world on wheels and remains the home and leader of the global automotive industry. With this leadership comes an important responsibility to lead by example on all fronts of the business,” Dingell concludes. “Thank you for your attention in this important public health and environmental matter in the automotive manufacturing supply chain. It is time for all automotive manufacturers publicly commit to ending their use of hexavalent chromium and to strengthen their manufacturing supply chains long-term by only contracting with environmentally responsible suppliers. Failing to do so unnecessarily endangers workers, endangers public health, and endangers our wildlife and environment across Michigan and the United States.”

View the full letter texts: Ford Motor CompanyToyotaGeneral MotorsStellantis

In August, Dingell responded to the Tribar release of hexavalent chromium into the Huron River by promptly urging the EPA to get involved in investigating the spill and helping to distribute public safety information. Dingell has also worked diligently to address other environmental crises in Michigan’s 12th district, including the Gelman Plumediesel release in TrentonBASF contaminated groundwater releasesArkema propertyMcLouth Steel Plant, and others.

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