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New proposal aims to reintroduce toxic cadmium in electronic displays on the EU market

This week ChemSec replied to the Commission’s public consultation regarding the RoHS cadmium display exemption. ChemSec strongly oppose this extended exemption since it will disfavour EU based companies providing sustainable innovation and alternatives. Additionally, cadmium is not biodegradable.

“Cadmium cause serious illness and pose a real threat to the environment throughout its use in the supply chain. Cadmium and other heavy metals in consumer products should therefore be restricted, especially in cases where alternative technology is available”, says ChemSec Policy Advisor Frida Hök.

Cadmium-free technologies are widely available and major manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, Apple and Sony have already adopted a no-Cadmium policy.

The background leading up to the Commission’s new exemption proposal for cadmium reveals that not everyone thinks this is a good idea. In 2015 the European Parliament voted to reject the Commission’s so called Delegated Act which proposed extending the use of toxic cadmium in displays until July 2018. Parliament members came to the conclusion that the justification for maintaining cadmium exemptions was “manifestly incorrect” since displays using Cadmium-free technologies are already widely available across Europe, while Cadmium-based displays had all been withdrawn from the market since 2014.

“In light of this we are very surprised to see this new exemption proposal from the EU Commission. There is no justification to exempt Cadmium-based display products. Doing so would be against the principles and purpose of RoHS and would weaken the environmental and health protection of the European Union”, Frida Hök concludes.

ChemSec’s reply to the public consultation