Electronic Products & Technology

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A change in seasons for environmental compliance


As the seasons shift from summer to Fall, many changes are also at hand within the world of Environmental Compliance of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE). Meanwhile, in the world of Environmental Compliance of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE), many changes are happening as well.  Here is a list of changing regulations that we should keep an eye on:

In the European Union (EU):

  • EU RoHS 10 Substances: By passing delegated Directive 2015/863, the European Union has recently amended annex II of Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS recast) and has added 4 phthalates to its restricted substances list: DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP. According to the EU REACH regulation, these phthalates are also considered Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). The restrictions of these phthalates in homogeneous materials of EEE will apply starting July, 22nd Nevertheless, product categories 8 (medical devices) and 9 (monitoring and control instruments) are exempted until July 22nd, 2021. Phthalates are typically used as plasticizers and may be found in adhesives, inks, coatings, cables, polymer foils, PVC compounds, etc. Phthalates are especially present in computers, electronic and electrical equipment, optical products, machinery and transport equipment.

 

  • EU REACH 163: On June 15th of this year, two new substance types were added to the SVHC list:

 

  • 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, di-C6-10-alkyl esters; 1,2-benzenedicarboxylic acid, mixed decyl and hexyl and octyl diesters with = 0.3% of dihexyl phthalate (CAS # 68515-51-5 and 68648-93-1). These are phthalates that may affect fertility and cause damage to the unborn child.

 

  • 5-sec-butyl-2-(2,4-dimethylcyclohex-3-en-1-yl)-5-methyl-1,3-dioxane [1], 5-sec-butyl-2-(4,6-dimethylcyclohex-3-en-1-yl)-5-methyl-1,3-dioxane [2] [covering any of the individual isomers of [1] and [2] or any combination thereof] which cover various CAS numbers (117933-89-8, 343934-04-3, 343934-05-4, 676367-02-5, 676367-03-6, 676367-04-7, 676367-05-8, 676367-06-9, 676367-07-0, 676367-08-1, 676367-09-2, 186309-28-4 etc.) and are considered very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) substances.

 

A new updated version of the SVHC list is expected in December of this year.

 

  • Towards an EU Conflict Minerals Certification: On May 26th 2015, a proposal was passed by  the European Parliament that required mandatory conflict minerals certification.  The electronic industry and more specifically components containing gold, tantalum, tin or tungsten are the primary targets.  The purpose is to certify imports and validate the absence of financial support to groups perpetrating violence in Africa.  A similar conflict minerals regulation is already in force in the United States.

 

In the United States:

  • Conflict Minerals: The first two-year grace period is now over and companies that use conflict minerals will have to resort to an independent auditor (i.e the IPSA – Independent Private Sector Audit), under certain conditions. This private audit assesses whether the framework surrounding the manufacturer’s Reasonable Country of Origin Inquiry (RCOI) of conflict minerals is consistent to national and international standards.  Future guidance from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected.

 

  • TSCA: The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Modernization Act of 2015 (R. 2576) was voted by the United States Congress last June 23rd in order to modify the current TSCA which was enacted in 1976 to manage hazardous chemicals in commerce. The objective of the TSCA Modernization Act is to strengthen the role of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in evaluating and regulating potentially hazardous chemicals. Will the TSCA implement similar mechanisms as in the EU REACH ? We should know more soon.
  • Power Supplies Level VI: The Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for External Power Supplies; Final Rule was issued by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office (EERE) on February 10th, 2014. This final rule establishes new energy conservation standards to many external power supplies (EPS).  The requirements will be applied starting February 10th, 2016, for any EPS placed into the US market. Manufacturers will also have to mark their compliant power supplies with the Roman numeral VI label, according to the International Efficiency Marking Protocol for External Power Supplies, Version 3.0.

 

  • Human Trafficking Ban: The US Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) has recently enacted requirements for Strengthening Protections Against Trafficking In Persons in Federal Contracts (Ref. 80 FR 4967). For any portion of contracts of services or goods without components of the shelves (COTS) that exceed $500 000 USD and which are supplied from outside the USA to a Federal Department (such as the Defense or the NASA), the contractor must:
    • Maintain a compliance plan;
    • Post the compliance plan at the workplace and on the contractor’s website and provide it upon request;
    • Prepare a certification regarding the compliance plan.

This FAR ending trafficking in persons regulation is, along with California law SB 657, an active way to fight against human trafficking worldwide.

 

In Asia:

  • China RoHS 2: In May 2015, The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) published a draft of the China RoHS 2 regulation called Management Methods for the Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Products. Compared to the previous China RoHS 1, major changes in the drafted China RoHS 2 revision are expected, including:
    • The Electronic Information Products scope is expanded to Electrical and Electronic Products, adopting a definition comparable to the one in the EU RoHS 2 directive;
    • The implementation of a Compliance Management Catalogue and a Conformity Assessment System;
    • The Conformity Assessment System would be handled by a Certification & Accreditation System and would require testing from a third party laboratory.

 

  • China RoHS Standards: The supporting SJ/T 11364-2006 standard of China RoHS was updated in 2014. This SJ/T 11364-2014 edition will become one of the standards supporting the China RoHS 2.  Major changes in the 2014 version include:
    • Marking information can be displayed on the company’s website as well as by digital format, such as the LCD of an electrical or electronic product;
    • Packaging making requirements of the previous SJ/T 11364-2006 version are removed.

Other supporting standards updates are expected following the upcoming vote of the China RoHS 2 regulation…

 

  • K-REACH: Similar to the EU REACH, the South Korean REACH (K-Reach) now includes a list of chemicals, called the Priority Existing Chemicals (PEC) list.  The PEC list contains 510 substances thus far. Manufacturers & importers of these substances must register under certain conditions.

ISO 14001:2015:

The 2015 edition of the ISO 14001 standard should be published very soon.  It will replace the 2014 version.  Due to a three-year transition period, all ISO 14001:2004 certificates will expire after September 2018.  As of March 2017, any new certificate requests will rely on the more recent ISO 14001:2015.

 

To address these various challenging requirements, the first steps for the coming season will be to determine which ones apply to your business and start a due diligence compliance plan.

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