–Ford Motor Co. is phasing out the use of hexavalent chromium in its vehicles worldwide, ahead of global regulations prohibiting the use of the harmful substance. Hexavalent chromium (hex chrome) is a corrosion coating used on nuts, bolts, and brackets on cars and trucks. However, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists hex chrome as a potential lung carcinogen. Beginning in 2007, hex chrome will be banned in Europe. Other countries are expected to follow suit. But rather than wait for regulatory mandates, Ford is phasing out the use of hex chrome coated parts throughout its global manufacturing operations. In the U.S., for example, the hex chrome phase-out program began last month with production start up of the 2006-model Ford Econoline full-size van. Craig Perry, manager of Ford's hex chrome phase-out program, said that by year-end all Ford vehicles produced in North America should be hex chrome free. Replacement coatings have been thoroughly tested to ensure that frictional characteristics were not compromised, according to Perry.