RoHS Stakeholder Meeting Highlights Continuing Controversy

Last week in Brussels, Belgium, IPC attended the EU Commission’s third and final stakeholder meeting on the revision of the hazardous substance list under the EU RoHS Directive.

The meeting was quite contentious with participants having significant comments and disagreement on the proposed methodology for reviewing substances, the draft list of chemicals prioritized for assessment and possible inclusion, as well as a draft dossier (assessment) of hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD).

As a result of the lack of consensus at the meeting, EU Commission RoHS Desk Officer Hans-Christian Eberl announced that the Commission will set up a working group to refine the methodology proposed to identify and assess the substances for potential restriction in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

The current review, which is to be finalized by July 2014, will consider HBCDD, bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). During the meeting, it was suggested that the phthalate DIBP be added to the list of substances being considered to avoid driving the industry from one phthalate to the other. Although HBCDD is likely to be phased out under REACH, the dossier is still important. Becauses it could serve as a model for future substance assessments, IPC intends to comment on it.

Although a four-year periodic review of substances to be restricted under RoHS was discussed at the meeting, if EU Member States submit restriction dossiers before that, there could be a mid-term review after two years. It is likely that new restriction dossiers will be submitted by EU Member States by July 2016, triggering a review.

Written comments on the dossiers for HBCDD, DEHP, BBP and DBP are open for comment until November 25 – a two-week extension over the previously published November 11 deadline. IPC intends to submit comments.

IPC will continue its advocacy efforts, including filing comments and promoting science-based and cost-effective regulations.

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