International concerns grow that the EU RoHS Directive will not protect global health nor support innovation in safer substitutes

November 1, 2013 in electronicscampaign

Mr. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment
European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200, B- 1049 Brussels

Dear Commissioner Potočnik,

This is a follow up to the letter we sent you on July 22 from over 100 civil society groups around the world. We are collectively writing again – this time with almost 160 signatures, to register our ongoing deep concerns with the revised proposal for prioritizing hazardous materials for future restrictions. We acknowledge and welcome the Commission’s listing of PVC on the priority list since PVC presents hazards during its manufacturing, use and end of life phase plus it is a well known precursor to the formation of chlorinated dioxins/furans. It is important that PVC is therefore assessed at the upcoming stakeholder meeting on October 28, 2013.

However, the Commission is still not comprehensively addressing the problem of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants as a class of hazardous materials. This is particularly perplexing because the EU Commission’s own consultants have demonstrated that these substances fulfill the criteria for restriction and should be prioritised for evaluation due to the methodology developed. The proposed piecemeal approach prioritizes a small number of obscure and less significant chemicals that will not solve the health and environmental challenges posed by the entire class.

As Chemsec points out: no groups have been included on the prioritisation list even though the report clearly shows that brominated and chlorinated flame-retardants (BFRs and CFRs), as well as organochlorines, organobromines and chloroalkanes, fulfil the criteria of the RoHS directive and have representative substances that meet the human health or environmental hazard criteria set out in the methodology. more details click here