Phthalate ban imminent? by Nick Boley
May 1, 2015, 12:03
Filed under: EU Regulation/Legislation, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

The European Commission has produced a draft delegated directive which have the effect of adding four phthalates to the list of substances proscribed under the Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS2) Regulation. The maximum permitted concentration of these would be 0.1 % by weight.

The four phthalates are:

  • Diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP),
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and
  • Di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)

All of these are commonly used as plasticisers in electrical cabling. These substances are readily measured using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), but laboratories would need to ensure they can measure accurately at the 0.1% level so that compliant and non-compliant materials can easily be differentiated.

If there is no objection to the proposal from member states, this will come into force within 2 months and would have to be adopted by member states by the end of 2016.


Four phthalates to be listed under RoHS by Nick Boley
January 19, 2015, 11:36
Filed under: chemicals, EU Regulation/Legislation, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

The European Commission has advised the World Trade Organisation (WTO) of its intention to include the four phthalates DEHP, BBP, DBP and DiBP to the list of restricted substances under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic devices legislation. These substances are considered by some to be endocrine disrupters (EDCs), although there is not general agreement across Europe on this.

The proposed restriction is due to be implemented in 2019, although will not apply to medical devices and monitoring and control instruments until 2021.

European Commission publishes series of RoHS exemptions by Nick Boley
May 21, 2014, 09:24
Filed under: EU Regulation/Legislation, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: , ,

A series of exemptions to Directive 2011/65/EU – the Restrictions on the use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive – have been published by the European Commission.

These exemptions, which cover uses of lead and mercury in electrical and electronic equipment placed on the market within the EU, allow for these toxic metals to be used in specific applications as no feasible substitutes for their use have yet been developed.

The series of Commission Delegated Directives – numbered from 2014/69/EU to 2014/76/EU allow for the following uses of these metals:

  • lead in dielectric ceramic in capacitors for a rated voltage of less than 125 V AC or 250 V DC for industrial monitoring and control instruments
  • lead in micro-channel plates (MCPs)
  • lead in solder in one interface of large area stacked die elements
  • lead in solders and termination finishes of electrical and electronic components and finishes of printed circuit boards used in ignition modules and other electrical and electronic engine control systems
  • lead in platinized platinum electrodes used for conductivity measurements
  • lead used in other than C-press compliant pin connector systems for industrial monitoring and control instruments
  • mercury in cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) for back-lighting liquid crystal displays, not exceeding 5 mg per lamp, used in industrial monitoring and control instruments placed on the market before 22 July 2017
  • mercury in hand crafted luminous discharge tubes (HLDTs) used for signs, decorative or architectural and specialist lighting and light-artwork

The exemption for mercury in cold cathode fluorescent lamps (Commission Delegated Directive 2014/75/EU) is of particular interest as it includes a quantitative limit which can not be exceeded. The accurate determination of mercury is still challenging for many analytical laboratories, and this may be an area where the development of a Certified Reference Material for mercury in such products is needed to assist manufacturers and regulatory laboratories enable this level not to be exceeded.


Only 4 substances to be assessed for RoHS inclusion by Nick Boley
September 18, 2013, 12:48
Filed under: EU Information, RoHS/WEEE, Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

The European Commission has announced that it is to evaluate only 4 substances for inclusion in the list of restricted substances under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. The substances in question are:

  • Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), a brominated flame retardant
  • Diethy hexyl Phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl Butyl Phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)

These substances are of concern where present in waste streams. Measurement methods do exist for the determination, but the development of Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) of simulated wastes containing these substances would be of significant benefit to laboratories, both regulatory and in industry, wishing to check waste products for their presence and quantity.

The full process of listing these 4 substances is given here, and the European Commission page on the subject is here.

Industry Concern over proposed list of EEE Substances under RoHS by Nick Boley
September 12, 2013, 09:06
Filed under: RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

Industry bodies representing the digital technology industry have submitted their comments to the European Commission on the proposed list of EEE (electrical and electronic equipment) substances to be controlled under the revised Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.

Their comments indicate several problems with the proposed list, including the number of substances proposed which are already on the list or controlled by other regulations such as REACH. This is a continued indication of the lack of a joined-up approach to EU regulations of chemicals across the different Directorates-General and sectors. The number of proposed substances not used in the digital technology industry – and therefore not needed to be controlled – was also an issue.

However, one of the more worrying comments in this response concerned the “lack of use or wrong use of CAS numbers concerning several entries makes the review of the inventory difficult. In case of substance groups being proposed for restriction, all relevant CAS numbers should be provided”. The nomenclature of substances is a fundamental underpinning factor in the correct description and subsequent regulation of chemicals and needs to be correct otherwise any regulation based upon it is undermined.

European Commission review list of restricted substances under RoHS by Nick Boley
January 24, 2013, 11:27
Filed under: EU Information, RoHS/WEEE | Tags: ,

The European Commission’s DG Environment is consulting on the list of substances which are restricted under the recast of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive (RoHS2), used in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE).

The use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in EEE has been banned/restricted since 2006, although some exemptions are allowed for specific applications where there is no alternative.

The Commission have identified the flame retardants Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBP-A) and Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and the phthalates Bis (2-ehtylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) as high priority substances and should be reviewed (with the exception of TBBP-A) in the first tranche of reviews.

The intention is to publish the updated list of restricted substances in 2014.

Measurement of the substances in EEE is not a trivial matter; methods of analysis for Chromium (VI) and brominated flame retardants are still under development to a certain extent and the number of certified reference materials (CRMs) for these is still worringly low. Good quality analytical measurements are an essential part of enforcement of RoHS2.

New UK ROHS Regulations Published by Nick Boley
December 11, 2012, 10:52
Filed under: Environment/Ecology, RoHS/WEEE | Tags:

The UK Government has published The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012, which enacts EU Directive 2011/65/EU.

Directive 2011/65/EU lists (in Annex II) the substances which are now not allowed in electrical and electronic equipment, namely:

Lead (0.1 %)
Mercury (0.1 %)
Cadmium (0.01 %)
Hexavalent chromium (0.1 %)
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) (0.1 %)
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) (0.1 %)

The new UK regulations come into force on 2 January 2013. Although enforcement is covered in the regulations, no reference is made at all to any measurement and testing procedures which may be needed to enforce the regulations.