PCB flame retardant comes under pressure in Sweden and Germany - Embedded.com

PCB flame retardant comes under pressure in Sweden and Germany

LONDON — The IPC trade association is encouraging its members in Germany and Sweden to contact their respective environmental agencies and government officials, urging that they resist a ban of Tetrabromobisphenol (TBBPA).

IPC (Bannockburn, Ill.) has 2,700 member companies which represent the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test.

TBBPA is a popular flame retardant used in more than 80 percent of the world’s printed circuit boards (PCBs). A comprehensive EU Risk Assessment found TBBPA not harmful to the environment or to human health.

However, as discussions of the proposed revisions to the RoHS Directive proceed among members of the European Union Council, Germany and Sweden’s environmental agencies are calling for the restriction of TBBPA under RoHS — a substance not currently on the list of proposed restrictions. Recently, Germany’s federal environmental agency, Umwelt Bundes Amt (UBA), published a newsletter calling for the restriction of TBBPA under RoHS.

The basis for UBA’s position is what IPC calls a faulty and unscientific report published last year by the Öko Institut. The IPC has published information about the electronics manufacturing industry’s concerns with the Öko Institut report.

Growing pressure from the Swedish government is spurred by a report from the Swedish chemicals agency, Kemikalieinspektionen.

“As we continue to monitor global environmental activities, it is imperative that we engage the support of IPC members in affected regions,” said Fern Abrams, IPC director of environmental policy and government relations. “We continue to lobby governments directly, but we also recognize that government officials respond best to companies located in their country.”

Related links and articles:

Industry frustrated by EU proposal

RoHS report comes under scrutiny in Brussel

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