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Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive

On January 20, 2013, the European Union (EU) Commission launched the first stakeholder consultation of the review of Annex II (the list of restricted substances) of the RoHS Directive.

On November 25, IPC submitted comments to the European Union (EU) Commission on the Draft RoHS Annex 2 Dossiers for HBCCD, DEHP , BBP and DBP. The European Union Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Environment is currently revising the list of substances restricted under the RoHS directive. While the current review is limited to HBCDD (a flame retardant) and three phthalates already restricted under REACH, the dossiers are still important as they like will serve as a model for assessments of additional prioritized substances, including TBBPA.

In a separate report, the Commission’s consultants have developed a prioritized list of additional substances to be reviewed for restriction under RoHS, which includes TBBPA, the most common flame retardant in printed circuit boards, as a priority substance. It is likely that additional substance dossiers will be submitted by EU Member States by July 2016, triggering a review of those substances.

In our November comments, IPC expressed concern that the dossiers (assessments) contain a significant amount of inaccurate information and flawed assumptions.  In particular, IPC expressed concern that the reports focused on irrelevant data from uncontrolled waste treatment in developing nations, and assumed that a complete change in the flame retardant and laminate system would have no cost impact for EEE producers.

IPC previously submitted comments applauding the Commission for supporting using a scientific methodology. In our comments, we encouraged the Commission to first establish the methodology before asking stakeholders to submit substances they believe are harmful. Furthermore, the Commission supports the alignment with the REACH Regulation, which, in our opinion, solidifies the Commission’s support for scientifically-based regulations. The Commission also specifically stated that TBBPA should not be considered as a priority for the first review of Annex II.

On June 10, 2013, IPC submitted comments on the second draft of the methodology stressing the importance of evaluating both hazard and exposure characteristics of a substance and potential alternatives prior to restricting a substance. IPC has remained engaged in the development of the methodology for evaluating substances for restriction under the RoHS2 Directive. On March 11, 2013, IPC submitted comments on the draft methodology for evaluating substances under the RoHS Directive. IPC is concerned that the draft methodology will not result in the development of a strong, scientifically based methodology for the review of restricted substances under RoHS, as outlined in Article 6 of the RoHS 2 Directive (2011). On April 15, 2013, IPC and SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International) submitted technical comments that suggest using an alternative approach to evaluating substances for restriction under the RoHS Directive. These comments can be viewed by visiting www.umweltbundesamt.at/rohs2. On April 30, 2013, IPC and SEMI met with the RoHS2 desk officer to discuss our comments.

During the RoHS revisions process IPC successfully lobbied for the revised Directive to be scientifically based. As a result, the Commission did not implement additional substance restrictions under the revised RoHS Directive. The Commission is required to complete its review of Annex II by July 2014. IPC will remain engaged in the review process. For more information please contact Stephanie Castorina at +1 703-522-0225.