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RoHS | June 06, 2008

7 more RoHS exemptions proposed

The European Commission (EC) has proposed seven new exemptions under the RoHS Directive for consideration by the Technical Adaptation Committee (TAC).
33. Lead in solders for the soldering of thin copper wires of 100 µm diameter and less in power transformers.

34. Lead in PVC used for giving a Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) behaviour to the PVC in view of electronic shut down control of flexible electric heating appliances (overblankets, heating pads and underblankets) until 1 July 2008.

35. Lead in cermet-based trimmer potentiometer elements.

36. Cadmium in photoresistors for optocouplers applied in professional audio equipment until 31 December 2009.

37. Mercury used as a cathode sputtering inhibitor in DC plasma displays with a content up to 30 mg per display until 1 July 2010.

38. Lead in the plating layer of high voltage diodes on the basis of a zinc borate glass body.

39. Cadmium and cadmium oxide in thick film pastes used on aluminium bonded beryllium oxide.

It is also proposing to delete existing exemption number 22:

22. Lead as impurity in RIG (rare earth iron garnet) Faraday rotators used for fibre optic communications systems.

Exemption 22 is being deleted because, soon after the TAC voted to grant it, evidence came to light that a suitable substitute existed. At that time this was available only from one supplier but now there are several so the exemption no longer meeting the criteria of Article 5.1b (or 5.1c which deals with review of existing exemptions) of RoHS.

The original application documents, responses to the stakeholder consultation and the german Öko Institut’s report which provides the main technical input to the process are all available via the EC’s website. These proposals were presented and briefly discussed at the TAC meeting held on 10 April 2008. The EC had already asked TAC members for comments and will probably hold a formal vote using “written procedures”, i.e. a postal vote, by around the end of May.

Several of these exemptions are time limited because the consultants expect substitutes to be available by the expiry dates. The expiry date for proposed exemption 34 will be before this exemption is formally adopted but will allow manufacturers to sell goods put on the EU market before this date. Some of these exemptions were originally requested a long time ago - one more than two years ago.

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