Ecodesign Substance Ban Sets “Dangerous Precedent”, According to Industry

Ecodesign Substance Ban Sets “Dangerous Precedent”,  According to Industry

The European Commission has given preliminary approvals on two key changes for electronic displays that, if formally passed, would ban halogenated flame retardants.

The proposed ban, which would take effect on March 1, 2021, applies to enclosures and stands of electronic displays in appliances such as televisions. It falls under the European Ecodesign Directive.

Halogenated flame retardants can cause problems when electronic displays are recycled, because they prevent devices from more ecologically-friendly options.

The ban is in line with the European Union (EU) parliament’s goals of ensuring products are designed with the circular economy in mind, which requires:

  • The use of less hazardous substances.
  • The capability for repair and reuse.
  • That devices can be easily dismantled and repurposed into other products and/or recycled.

Previously, similar substance bans on electronic devices were issued under RoHS, which allows for substance threshold limits, and has an outlined process for exemptions.

The electronics industry has expressed some concerns over the proposed ban, primarily that this sort of restriction can be adopted outside of existing regulations such as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, which have clearly outlined processes for substance restrictions.

The International Bromine Council issued a statement in opposition of the ban, saying that the EU should use the “appropriate and well-known tools and processes for restrictions of substances” and that the approval of this ban as an ecodesign item “sets a dangerous precedent.” The industry concern stems from the lack of structure surrounding the proposed ban when compared to substance restrictions under existing regulations.

A number of other trade associations, including the Consumer Technology Association and Korea Electronics Association, have signed a position paper agreeing with the International Bromine Council that a blanket ban is an extreme measure.

The proposed ban would include a number of exemptions for products that have projectors or an electronic display with a screen area smaller than or equal to 100 square centimetres, among others.

Companies with strong product compliance data, including full material disclosures (FMDs), will be best prepared to determine how regulatory changes, such as a ban on halogenated flame retardants, may impact their products and supply chains.

The Assent Compliance Platform allows companies to streamline supplier outreach and leverage supply chain data, including FMDs. To learn more, contact info@assentcompliance.com.

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