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Electrical and electronic equipment

Yellow Card for Hazardous Chemicals

The Environment Committee today sent a clear signal about the dangers of hazardous chemicals used in electrical and electronic equipment during a vote on the recast of the RoHS (1) Directive. Greens/EFA rapporteur Jill Evans commented after the vote:

"I am glad that, despite heavy pressure from the chemical industry, the Environment Committee has today voted for certain problematic substances to be highlighted for further review and a possible ban. We know that substances such as halogenated flame retardants, PVC and phthalates can cause serious health and environmental problems during the treatment of electrical and electronic waste. This should be the first step in phasing them out.

"A broad majority in the committee also voted for all electrical and electronic equipment to be covered by the directive. In addition, a more thorough exemption process has been adopted. Both these results closed serious loop-holes in the directive.

"Importantly, RoHS is clearly an instrument independent to REACH (2), which is intended to tackle a particular problem, namely electronic waste. The methodology on adopting new restrictions in the future adopted today will ensure this.

"In regards to solar panels, I think common sense has prevailed, in that renewable energy technologies will be excluded from the directive with a review due in 2014."

Note to editors:

(1) RoHS = Restriction of Hazardous Substances

(2) - REACH is a new European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The new law entered into force on 1 June 2007.

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