Concerns over RoHS revisions

30 June 2008

RoHS sign

Industry leaders representing key segments of the electronics supply chain met at an IPC workshop in Brussels earlier this month to address their concerns with the Öko-Institut report on the proposed expansion of RoHS substance restrictions.

As previously reported on EMTworldwide, Öko-Institut was contracted by the European Union Commission to study the inclusion of additional hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment under the RoHS Directive.

In their draft report to the commission, the Öko-Institut recommended the restriction of TBBPA (Tetrabromobisphenol A), the flame retardant used to protect more than 80% of PCBs and found to be safe by a comprehensive European Union risk assessment. In addition to TBBPA, HBCDDs (Hexabromocylcododecanes), several phthalate plasticisers and all organic compounds containing chlorine and bromine are included in the report as suggested bans.

Attendees at the meeting included members of the European Commission and the RoHS Technical Advisory Committee from Brussels and the United Kingdom. In addition, representatives from the European Space Agency, EU Commission consultant ERA Technology, Rockwell Collins, AT&S Austria Technologie and Systemtechnik AG, Philips Healthcare, Henkel, BAE Systems Platform Solutions, Lockheed Martin, Aerospace Industries Association of America, American Embassy Brussels, Avantec, Isola GmbH, and EADS attended.

Working with these attendees, IPC is developing a ‘supply chain’ white paper in response to the proposed restrictions. According to a commission member, a technical response across a large section of the supply chain would be an effective method in communicating industry issues.

“IPC is concerned that Öko-Institut’s recommendations are arbitrary and lack a sound scientific basis,” stated Fern Abrams, IPC’s director of government relations and environmental policy.

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