Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Sony Ericsson, together with ChemSec, Clean Production Action and the European Environmental Bureau, are calling on EU legislators to ban the use of all brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in electronics put on the market from the end of 2015.
EU legislators are now in the process of deciding future restrictions on hazardous substances in electronics under the EU’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.
The current RoHS Directive restricts some heavy metals and two types of BFRs. The alliance is calling for restrictions on all brominated substances as well as PVC. The European Parliament Environment Committee will vote on the RoHS proposal on June 3.
“The supply chain can indeed provide safer substitutes for these hazardous substances,” said ChemSec senior policy advisor Nardono Nimpuno, in a statement. “Our recent research report testifies to the fact that alternatives are available, cost effective and suppliers are ready to scale up their production of these alternative materials.”
The ChemSec report demonstrates that most applications of PVC and BFRs have been removed from more than 500 product models on the market today, including mobile phones, computers, washing machines, coffee machines and TVs. Products from 28 companies, among them Acer, Apple, Dell, HP, Nokia, Philips, Samsung and Sony Ericsson, are listed in the report.
The alliance of business and NGOs is also calling on the EU to recognize that these substances can generate highly hazardous dioxins and other substances of concern when they are incinerated at end of life or burned in substandard treatment sites outside the EU.
The export of e-waste is banned under EU law but much of it makes its way to Asia, Africa and Latin America, according to the alliance.