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RoHS | January 31, 2006

Commercial interests behind the Swedish plans of banning TBBP-A

“The Swedish government's proposal about banning the flame retardants Deca-BDE and TBBP-A is only a result of pressure from suppliers of halogen free PCB materials” IPC's Director of Environmental Policy, Fern Abrams told evertiq.
Fern Abrams wants to point out that she doesn't want to sound just like a complaining American when she comes over here to Sweden but she still thinks that the Swedish government is a bit big-headed when opposing the European Commissions decision to actually allow the use of Deca-BDE and TBBP-A in electronics. “What makes Sweden better in this case”, Fern Abrams told evertiq.

The substitutes and their strengths and weaknesses (source HDP User Group International Inc.):

Antimony Trioxide: Low toxicity to aquatic organisms but possible toxicity to humans if inhaled.

Aluminum Hydroxide: Low toxicity to aquatic organisms but decomposes during soldering.

Magnesium Hydroxide: Low toxicity.

Zinc Borate: Low toxicity to humans but toxic to aquatic organisms.

Red Phosforus: Non-toxic but highly flammable and may degrade.

According to Fern Abrams over 90 % of all produced PCBs are containing TBBP-A and if the banning of this chemical turns out to be reality the Swedish electronics industry would get enormous competition problems. “Sweden is a very small market and it would be hard to develop a market specific product for Sweden”, Abrams told evertiq.

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