15 June 2018
Seven Substances to Be Assessed for Their Eventual Prohibition in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Sold to EU Customers
The European Commission has appointed two external agencies, the Oeko-Institut and Fraunhofer IZM, to undertake a “Study to support the review of the list of restricted substances and to assess a new exemption request under RoHS 2”. Hong Kong sellers of electrical and electronic goods will know that EU Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS 2) restricts several hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).
Annex II of the Directive outlines the named substances that are banned (or that will be banned), and the maximum tolerated values of each that are allowed in EEE. Currently, these are lead (0.1%), mercury (0.1%), cadmium (0.01%), hexavalent chromium (0.1%), polybrominated biphenyls (0.1%), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (0.1%), and four phthalates, namely, DEHP (0.1%), BBP (0.1%), DBP (0.1%) and DIBP (0.1%).
Article 6 of RoHS 2 requires that the list of restricted substances in Annex II be reviewed periodically. Accordingly, in 2012-2014, a methodology was developed for substance assessment and a number of substances were reviewed for possible restriction. As a result, the four above-mentioned phthalates were added to Annex II and will be banned in EEE starting in July 2019.
The present study is aimed at providing support for a further review of the list of banned substances and to assess a new exemption request under RoHS 2. The study consists of two parts, a “Substance restriction review” followed by an “Exemption evaluation”. The first part of the study should provide technical and scientific support in view of the following tasks:
- task 1 consists of updating the existing methodology to identify and assess substances for possible restriction;
- task 2 involves assessing substances with a view to the review and amendment of the list of restricted substances in Annex II; and
- task 3 consists of a determination of the quantitative usage data for a list of specified substances used in EEE.
The second part of the study will provide technical and scientific support for evaluating the exemption methodology (task 4) and exemption assessments (task 5). In this respect, Hong Kong sellers of EEE may be aware that exemptions have been granted and may be granted periodically to specific applications of the banned substances, especially where substitutes are not yet available or feasible. In order to carry out these tasks, information will be collected through the survey of available literature and through direct and stakeholder consultation.
In April 2018, the first stakeholder consultation was launched and is intended to collect information on seven substances which are to be assessed in view of amending the list of restricted substances in Annex II. The substances under assessment are:
- Diantimony trioxide (flame retardant);
- Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBP-A, flame retardant);
- Indium phosphide (InP);
- Medium chain chlorinated paraffins (MCCPs) – Alkanes, 14-17, chloro;
- Beryllium and its compounds;
- Nickel sulphate and nickel sulfamate;
- Cobalt dichloride and cobalt sulphate.
The role of the consultation is to collect and evaluate the information provided by stakeholders with the aim of providing the European Commission with a recommendation on the possible restriction of substances. However, the ultimate decision on a possible amendment so as to insert new substances onto the list of substances restricted under RoHS is the responsibility of the European institutions, namely, the European Parliament and the Council of Member State ministers, along with the Commission.
The study will involve two further stakeholder consultations which will be carried out at a later date. The first of these will aim at receiving input and comments for the substance review methodology manual being prepared and at collecting information on the use of substances in EEE. The final consultation will aim at receiving input and comments as to draft dossiers to be prepared for each of the seven substances under assessment and at collecting information on a selection of substances for the inventory of substances present in EEE for the purpose of their prioritisation in task 3.