ECPI Position Paper on RoHS revision


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Position of the European Council for Plasticisers and Intermediates on the RoHS Directive revision.

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ECPI Position Paper on RoHS revision

  1. 1. RoHS Directive Inter-institutional code COD/2008/0240 3 July 2009 RoHS Directive provisions on restrictions for new substances duplicate REACH, creating further administrative burdens for no additional environmental or consumer benefit One of the stated objectives of the Commission’s revision of RoHS Directive is to avoid duplication and contradictions between RoHS and other pieces of legislation, such as REACH. However, in its article 4(7) the current RoHS proposal clearly duplicates the REACH’s restrictions process. We ask that Parliament and Council amend Article 4(7) and delete Annex III to ensure that existing regulatory tools are used to restrict new substances in electronic and electrical goods. Such an amendment would avoid the creation of an unnecessary administrative burden and potential uncertainty for all concerned, while maintaining the same level of protection afforded by the current proposal. A. The proposal duplicates the process established by REACH and therefore only serves to add to legal complexity and the administrative burden REACH already provides a working regulatory process to restrict substances in all articles, including those goods regulated by RoHS (REACH article 69). REACH takes into account the risks arising from the entire life-cycle of substances including the waste phase of articles that contain the substance. Under REACH, Member States and the European Chemicals Agency can propose and adopt restrictions on substances in articles (including electrical and electronic equipment) when substances pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment and there is a need to manage this risk on a Community wide basis. Under RoHS only the Commission can propose such restrictions. The proposal therefore potentially creates the unnecessary legislative and administrative duplication of REACH processes. At a time when ECHA and Member State authorities are already struggling to find the resources required for REACH restriction and authorisation implementation, it would appear unwise to create additional administrative burdens for all concerned. B. The proposal creates uncertainties regarding the process to restrict new substances in electrical and electronic goods The REACH criteria for restrictions are repeated verbatim in the proposal on RoHS (RoHS proposal article 4, paragraph 7). However, the proposal seeks to establish a separate process to adopt restrictions on substances in articles through an ill-defined and yet-to-be established comitology procedure. The ambiguity in the Commission’s proposal creates a number of uncertainties. While the Commission proposal refers to the use of a “methodology based on the process” set out in REACH for assessing and restricting new substances, the proposal falls short of simply using the existing process and expert bodies (ECHA) established under REACH to restrict substances in articles, including electrical and electronic goods. Avenue E Van Nieuwenhuyse 4, Box 2, B-1160 Brussels, Belgium Tel: +32 2 676 72 60 Fax: +32 2 676 73 92 VAT 412.849.915
  2. 2. ECPI – RoHS Directive proposal 3 July 2009 In a case where a substance needed to be restricted across a range of articles, including electronic goods, it is unclear whether a restriction would proceed under RoHS (DG Environment lead) or REACH restrictions (DG Enterprise lead). It is also unclear how far the already stretched REACH bodies (the European Chemicals Agency, the Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Committees) would be involved in the process. Under the Commission proposal the comitology committee that decides on the restrictions is the committee established under the Waste Framework Directive. RoHS does not use the full breadth of chemical expertise available under REACH. As such, the separate process and people involved may lead to different regulatory views at an EU level. C. The proposal to assess the need to restrict DEHP underlines the unnecessary duplication created by the Commission’s RoHS proposal The proposal suggests that the substance DEHP should be assessed as a priority under the RoHS Directive to establish whether a restriction under RoHS is required (Annex III). If such a review were to take place under RoHS it would constitute the fifth review of DEHP in consumer goods, including electrical and electronic equipment, conducted under European legislation in recent years. 1. DEHP was found to pose no risk to consumers or the environment from its presence in electrical and electronic goods (due to its use in cable and wiring) in a 10 year long EU assessment conducted under the Existing Substances Regulation. This assessment included an examination of the risks associated from the end of life of articles containing DEHP. These conclusions were published in the Official Journal as recently as 2008. 2. DEHP is currently undergoing a review of restrictions in articles under the terms of point 51 of Annex XVII of REACH. 3. DEHP is recommended as one of the first substances to undergo REACH authorisation. As from mid-2012 producers will have to apply for authorisation from the European Chemicals Agency to continue marketing the substance in Europe. 4. DEHP will be subject to a further review by the European Chemicals Agency the need for restrictions of the substance in articles post-2012-2013 according to article 69(2) of REACH. For further information: Tim Edgar Deputy Director, ECPI +32 (0)475 37 66 93