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IPC outcry over proposed RoHS expansion

11 June 2008 News

IPC is urging all technical experts from member companies and other stakeholders in the electronics industry to participate in a special meeting on 18 June in Brussels to discuss their concerns over RoHS expansion.

Plans also call for representatives of the European Commission to attend the meeting.

In a letter sent to its members recently, IPC detailed its concerns about the draft report issued by the Öko Institute, the organisation retained by the EU Commission to study the inclusion of additional substance restrictions in the RoHS directive, and what IPC says are the institute's biased and flawed methodologies.

According to IPC, the institute went beyond the framework initially set by the EU Commission and created new criteria and categories for inclusion within the RoHS directive, proposing now that substances observed in the environment and with concerns about combustion should be prohibited under RoHS. This includes Tetra-bromobisphenol A (TBBPA), the flame retardant used to protect more than 80% of printed circuit boards and found to be safe by a European Union risk assessment. In addition to TBBPA, the institute suggests banning Hexabromocylcododecanes (HBCDD), several phthalate plasticisers, and all organic compounds containing chlorine and bromine.

IPC's letter to its membership also reveals that institute staff denied IPC permission to attend a workshop it held for discussion of the report due to the fact that only 'scientific experts were invited'. The institute's disregard of the technical expertise within IPC and its membership, coupled with its ambition to expand the scope of criteria beyond the EU Commission's original intent, is causing concern throughout the industry that scientific evidence is not driving the basis of the report.

While the institute chose to exclude some stakeholders from its meeting, IPC believes it is critical for all scientific evidence to be presented and is hopeful that its special meeting in Brussels will provide industry experts with an avenue to present their technical findings before a final decision is made by the EU Commission.





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