Volvo V70 InteriorEnlarge Photo
Erin Brockovich would be pleased to hear that going forward, all Volvo interior materials will be chromium-free. Chromium is commonly used in the leather tanning process, and hexavalent chromium (the cancerous stuff that caused class-action lawsuits and gave Julia Roberts a juicy movie role) is used in the manufacture of other interior components. Both substances will be completely phased out of Volvo interiors.
It turns out that those with sensitive skin react poorly to the chemical, sometimes getting eczema, an itchy and inflamed rash at the point of contact. Some individuals are even just plain allergic to chrome. The safety-obsessed Swedes at Volvo will now be using non-chromium synthetics and natural solutions. In addition to being kinder to human hides, chromium-free manufacturing is gentler to the environment.
Quite enlightening to discover the existence of a chrome allergy. Now I know why I break into hives every time I approach an 80s Lincoln Town Car or Chrysler LeBaron convertible.