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EC Adds to Restrictions on Chemicals in Electronics

Last week, the European Commission issued a press release announcing the inclusion of six substances of very high concern (SVHCs) into Annex XIV of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. This action kicks off the authorization process, setting February 17 as the “Date of Inclusion” for these substances.

Authorization is the next step before substances become restricted and are added to Annex XVII of REACH. The schedule, according to the timelines identified by the Commission, should look like this:

EC Adds to Restricted Chemicals Used in Electronics

So if you build products in the European Union, and particularly cables that use one of the phthalates or plastic containing HBCDD, you should begin to inquire with your supply chain whether the items containing the SVHC can be redesigned to replace it with something else. If not, and the substance has been registered, the supplier will have to plan to apply for authorization. If you're importing product into the EU and not doing any manufacturing there, you won't be affected by the authorization process. However, the substance will be subject to restriction after the sunset date.

{complink 12808|Design Chain Associates LLC (DCA)} is producing a REACH update Webinar on March 2 that will cover aspects of the ever-dynamic REACH regulation that electronics manufacturers need to be aware of.

4 comments on “EC Adds to Restrictions on Chemicals in Electronics

  1. Barbara Jorgensen
    February 23, 2011

    I happened to visit the EU Website when this was announced and read more of the edict than I usually do (mostly to make sure this was “new”–there are a lot of environmental mandates in progress overseas in various stages of implementation.) One of the impressions I came away with is, applying for an exception to this rule is going to be tough. It's not that RoHS is a rubber stamp or anything, but I think this rule leaves less room for debate or interpretation of scope than RoHS.

  2. mike_at_DCA
    February 23, 2011

    Hi Barbara. Yes, that's right. They're looking specifically for socio-economic justification or proof that exposure is controlled during all phases of the chemical lifecycle if manufacturers insist on continuing to use any of these substances past the sunset date. The guidance document on how to prepare a socio-economic justification as part of an application for authorization is 260 pages long…

  3. Jay_Bond
    February 23, 2011

    This is a situation that is going to have large ramifications. I have been aware of these future restrictions for awhile, since my employer has a large stake involved in these decisions. The EU's decisions not only affect electronics, it also affects materials used to make everyday items. The interesting part is that there are many studies that show these chemicals and by-products they are targeting have been tested and the results show no significant harm.

    The big problem with these new restrictions is that by eliminating these chemicals, most items characteristics are changed. Many companies are now going to have to spend a lot of money on R&D to comply with these regulations.  I have also heard that getting exemptions is going to be extremely difficult.

     

  4. SP
    February 24, 2011

    I would like to attend this webinar on March2. Where can I register myself?

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