November 24th 2010, the European Parliament overwhelmingly supported a science-based approach to European Union (EU) legislation by adopting the new RoHS Directive This decision secured the continued use of flame retardants, including brominated flame retardants, in electrical and electronic equipment. Albemarle applauds this decision as the text of the agreement is a significant improvement compared to the current RoHS Directive. The new Directive moves away from blacklisting of substances to a modernized legislation aligned with the newest evaluation processes such as REACH. It provides clarity, predictability and legal certainty not only for our industry, but for society as a whole, on the issue of substance restriction.
For our customers, this means that they can continue to use substances currently on the market today, such as brominated flame retardants, in their electrical and electronic equipment applications to secure the highest fire safety for their consumers. For Albemarle, this means that we will continue to provide you with the portfolio of safe, effective and efficient materials that you are accustomed to. We are pleased with the Parliament’s vote, and with their reliance on sound science to reach this decision. It is a clear recognition of the growing need for legislation based on facts rather than perception and the importance of the role of brominated flame retardants in electrical and electronic equipment.
The agreement was negotiated between the European institutions, and is expected to be formally adopted in December. Following formal adoption, the final Directive will be published in early 2011.
More About the New RoHS Directive
As approved, the new RoHS Directive includes a more consistent framework for assessing chemicals in the EU and a defined methodology for reviewing and amending the Directive, which shall be coherent with REACH. All the EU institutions have supported the Commission’s proposal not to expand the list of restricted substances in Annex IV, and The Parliament and the Member States have also addressed the concerns over potentially discriminatory listing of substances by deleting Annex III.
Impact on Flame Retardants
-All flame retardant substances currently on the market for electrical & electronic equipment devices can continue to be used as no new restrictions have been added.
-The principle of sound science has been adhered to. The European Institutions recognize the need for evaluation of individual flame retardants rather than blacklisting whole families of flame retardants without scientific basis.
Impact on DecaBDE
The scope of new RoHS Directive was extended, which has an impact on DecaBDE. Being banned already under the current RoHS, there are now more applications covered where alternatives to DecaBDE must be found. Albemarle has a broad portfolio of solutions which meet these needs, and we look forward to finding optimal solutions to provide the market with the very best solutions.
If you have any further questions or inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact our European Advocacy Department – eMail: Florian.Kohl@albemarle.com, Tel.: +32-10-48-17-56.