Complying with European REACH and US environmental regulations (EPA and OSHA) has become a massive, complex, and high-risk problem for manufacturers across the world. Aerospace and Defense are particularly hard hit because of their traditional use of cadmium, hexavalent chromium, beryllium, etc., but every manufacturer who uses aluminum alloys, galvanized components, or even common chromated zinc bolts is also faced with finding replacement passivates. This problem will only get worse as regulations on essential manufacturing chemicals such as nickel salts and phthalates (used in polymers, paints, adhesives and seals) become increasingly stringent.
Is it possible to substitute materials and still maintain performance? Yes, but it means understanding what the regulations really are, what modern alternatives are available, how they perform in the real world. And it takes a combination of modeling and testing to qualify them for your specific application.