Commission ruling shock on DecaBDE
Jul 17, 2006
The long-running debate on DecaBDE brominated flame retardant has reached a dramatic new level with a ruling by the Commission's legal services leading to the conclusion that it is after all effectively banned from July 1st, despite being officially exempted in October 2005.
DecaBDE is widely used in TV's, computers and many other electrical and electronic equipment. It was controversially exempted from the RoHS Directive scope last October following a risk assessment, though this decision is itself subject to annulment proceedings brought by the European Parliament in the European Court of Justice.
Now, it has been ruled by the Commission that a NonaBDE impurity normally found in commercial DecaBDE is not exempt and has to comply with the substance ban.
Commercial DecaBDE contains about 3% of non-exempt NonaBDE impurity and since commercial DecaBDE is normally used in concentrations in polymers between 10 and 20%, all EEE that contains DecaBDE is highly likely to exceed a legal threshold of 0.1% NonaBDE in a homogeneous material.
The bromine industry is currently arguing against the ruling on the basis that the EU risk assesment on which the exemption was based examined the 'commercial' DecaBDE product, including the NonaBDE impurity.
The Swedish government has also announced that it will take a decision on a national DecaBDE ban before its elections in September.