ChemSec’s work on electronics and RoHS 2009-2011

During 2009-2010, the RoHS directive was under review. Under this period ChemSec, together with other NGOs as well as leading electronic companies, advocated for brominated and chlorinated organic substances, such as brominated flame retardants and PVC, to be regulated under RoHS.

ChemSec gathered companies and scientists to speak up for a stricter RoHS directive, organised a conference in the European Parliament, produced short videos and dissiminated these to members of the European Parliament, and listed 500 products not containing PVC or brominated flame retardants already on the market – to show that it is both technically and economically feasible to phase out these substances.

In November 2010 the European Parliament voted regarding the final outcome of the review of the RoHS directive. The review failed to add any new chemicals to those already restricted under the directive. However, the review did include a methodology for identification of substances for future restrictions under RoHS.

The methodology focuses on the waste and end-of-life phase and states that substances that, under current operational conditions in the e-waste sector, could give raise to hazardous transformation products should be restricted in RoHS. Brominated flame retardants and PVC, when incinerated at insufficiently high temperatures, produce very hazardous dioxins and furans.

In 2011 ChemSec, on behalf of UNEP, produced a report about ‘Information about chemicals in electronic products’.