PCB | July 06, 2009
EU Pressure mounts on TBBPA
IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries is mounting an advocacy campaign encouraging its members in Germany and Sweden to contact their respective environmental agencies and government officials, urging that they resist a ban of Tetrabromobisphenol(a) (TBBPA).
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, www.ipc.org/UBA-newsletter. The basis for UBA’s position is the faulty and unscientific report published last year by the Öko Institut. Information about the electronics manufacturing industry’s concerns with the Öko Institut report is available at www.ipc.org/Industry-response. 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. We continue to lobby governments directly, but we also recognize that government officials respond best to companies located in their country. Our strategic advocacy efforts are always strengthened with the active support of industry members,” said Fern Abrams, IPC director of environmental policy and government relations.