Banished Words


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At the end of each year, the academic wits at Lake Superior State University (LSSU; Sault Ste. Marie, MI) release a list of words they feel have reached the end of their useful life. LSSU’s “List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness” provides an opportunity for some much-need publicity for the 3,000-student school and usually does its job by attracting a good amount of media attention.

This year’s list included a couple of hurricane-related terms, including “hunker down” and the acronym FEMA. Gulf Coast residents doing the former can attest to the general uselessness of the latter in the aftermath of two major storms. For the full LSSU list as well as archived lists for the last 30 years, go to www.lssu.edu/banished/current.php.

The Lake Superior State list got me thinking about something similar that would be a bit more applicable to the finishing industry. At least one of the terms from the real list—junk science—could conceivably be applied to some aspects of finishing. For example:

Chromium PEL—Like it or not, we’ll soon be hearing a lot more about the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s proposed ultra-low personal exposure limits for Cr6+. No one’s arguing that worker health and safety isn’t paramount, but OSHA’s original proposal calling for a PEL reduction from 52 to 1 µg/m3 would create serious problems for a lot of plating companies. The good news is, there’s still hope for some sanity before the rule is finalized.

Offshoring is another word that’s over-exposed but unfortunately is probably not going away. Not to be confused with outsourcing, which could actually be a positive thing for finishing job shops, offshoring, as we all know by now, refers to the relocation of business processes (including production/manufacturing) to a lower-cost location, usually overseas. Many finishers in the United States would like to see a bit of a moratorium on the practice and higher fuel costs and other logistical problems may provide the break they’re looking for.

Regardless, any discussion of the above pretty much inevitably leads to thoughts of Chindia. This is a term that’s just starting to gain traction, but one I’d like to see nipped in the bud. It refers to China and India together in general and their economies in particular. The two countries have some obvious similarities—they’re geographically proximate developing countries with fast-growing economies—but they also have many, many differences. The biggest one might be that India is a democracy while China remains a totalitarian state.

And one more: Cosmetic Appeal. A good-looking finish is great, and it is a factor in the initial buying decision. But having a finish that can stand the test of time and hold up to wear and tear is a true selling point, and one that should concern buyers (and finishers) more than a coating’s initial appearance.

Got any words you’d like to see banished? Let us know at letters@pfonline.com with Banished Words as the subject.