Category Archives: nl2015q1

RoHS Exemption 7(b) Renewal Request is Withdrawn

Renewal of EU RoHS exemption 7(b) “Lead in solders for servers, storage and storage array systems, network infrastructure equipment for switching, signalling, transmission, and network management for telecommunications” has had very little support from large multi-national equipment manufacturers and is destined to quietly expire on July 21, 2016.

Quintech Electronics & Communications, Inc. submitted a renewal request for a modified 7(b) exemption with a reduced scope “Lead in solders for RF switching matrices and associated RF signal distribution equipment for telecommunications”, However, the consultants conducting the review notified stakeholders on April 9th, 2015 that the renewal request was withdrawn by the applicant.

There are no remaining renewal requests for exemption 7(b) and therefore, the exemption, which has been a mainstay of the communications, telecommunication, and server equipment industries since 2006, will disappear next July. Once expired, it will not longer be possible for manfucturers, importers and distributers to claim the exemption for products being placed on the EU market except for spare parts to repair old products.

EU – Update on RoHS Exemption Renewals

The European Commission received 87 RoHS Annex III exemption renewal requests before the January 21, 2015 deadline. Most of the renewal requests were based on proposals developed by industry association working groups. The exemptions will expire on July 21, 2016 for most products unless the renewal applications are successful. For some exemptions, multiple renewal requests were submitted by different stakeholders. The requests will be put through the review and stakeholder consultation over the coming months to determine whether the renewals are justified according to the criteria specified in the Directive.

For most of the renewal requests, the proposal is to simply renew the existing wording of the exemption; for a few exemptions, modified wording is proposed. The Annex III exemptions that are due for expiry and have no exemption renewal request (as of January 21, 2015) are listed in Table 2.

Table 2: Exemptions with no renewal request by January 21, 2015

2(b)(2)Mercury in other fluorescent lamps not exceeding (per lamp):Non-linear halophosphate lamps (all diameters): 15 mg
5(a)Lead in glass of cathode ray tubes
17Lead halide as radiant agent in high intensity discharge (HID) lamps used for professional reprography applications
25Lead oxide in surface conduction electron emitter displays (SED) used in structural elements, notably in the seal frit and frit ring
30Cadmium alloys as electrical/mechanical solder joints to electrical conductors located directly on the voice coil in transducers used in high-powered loudspeakers with sound pressure levels of 100 dB (A) and more
31Lead in soldering materials in mercury free flat fluorescent lamps (which e.g. are used for liquid crystal displays, design or industrial lighting)
33Lead in solders for the soldering of thin copper wires of 100 micrometer diameter and less in power transformers
38Cadmium and cadmium oxide in thick film pastes used on aluminium bonded beryllium oxide

Four renewal requests received by the Commission are already underway and the public consultation is scheduled to begin in March. A summary of the renewal requests and the project is available on the project website. The project (referred to as Pack 7) is expected to complete in September 2015.

Impact on Manufacturers

If the renewal of an Annex III exemption that you are currently using is not successful or if the scope of the exemption is narrowed whereby your products/applications are no longer covered, the expiry may have a significant technical and business impact on your organization. If the expired exemption was used by your suppliers, the suppliers may need to design out the restricted substance. However, given the R&D investment to do so, some suppliers may discontinue parts that do not have sufficient business justification. If parts are discontinued, then OEMs will need to identify and qualify substitutes.

If the restricted substance is directly specified by your organization (for example in a material specified on a mechanical drawing or during manufacturing operations); then redesign will be necessary to eliminate the restricted substance.

Regardless of whether the exemption is used by a supplier or in your product design specifications, your organization will need to update its RoHS technical documentation file to demonstrate that the exemption is no longer being used.


The renewal request for exemption 7(b) was withdrawn on April 9, 2015. See blog article RoHS Exemption 7(b) Renewal Request is Withdrawn

U.S. Executive Order — Federal Purchasing and Sustainability Requirements

On March 19, 2015, the U.S. President, Barack Obama, signed Executive Order 13693 for advancing sustainability objectives in the U.S. Federal Government. The Executive Order specifies requirements on Policy, Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions, Sustainability Goals for Agencies, and Duties of various Federal government offices and officers. The Executive Order is available on the Whitehouse website.

Of specific interest to many EEE manufacturers that sell products to the U.S. government is subsection 3(i) that directs federal purchasing to sustainable products (excerpted below).

3(i) promote sustainable acquisition and procurement by ensuring that each of the following environmental performance and sustainability factors are included to the maximum extent practicable for all applicable procurements in the planning, award, and execution phases of the acquisition by:

(i) meeting statutory mandates that require purchase preference for:

(A) recycled content products designated by EPA;

(B) energy and water efficient products and services, such as ENERGY STAR qualified and Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products, identified by EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE); and

(C) BioPreferred and biobased designated products designated by the United States Department of Agriculture;

(ii) purchasing sustainable products and services identified by EPA programs including:

(A) Significant New Alternative Policy (SNAP) chemicals or other alternatives to ozone-depleting substances and high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons, where feasible, as identified by SNAP;

(B) WaterSense certified products and services (water efficient products);

(C) Safer Choice labeled products (chemically intensive products that contain safer ingredients); and

(D) SmartWay Transport partners and SmartWay products (fuel efficient products and services);

(iii) purchasing environmentally preferable products or services that:

(A) meet or exceed specifications, standards, or labels recommended by EPA that have been determined to assist agencies in meeting their needs and further advance sustainable procurement goals of this order; or

(B) meet environmental performance criteria developed or adopted by voluntary consensus standards bodies consistent with section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (Public Law 104-113) and OMB Circular A-119;

(iv) acting, as part of the implementation of planning requirements of section 14 of this order, until an agency achieves at least 95 percent compliance with the BioPreferred and biobased purchasing requirement in paragraph (i) of this subsection, to:

(A) establish an annual target for the number of contracts to be awarded with BioPreferred and biobased criteria and dollar value of BioPreferred and biobased products to be delivered and reported under those contracts in the following fiscal year. To establish this target, agencies shall consider the dollar value of designated BioPreferred and biobased products reported in previous years, the specifications reviewed and revised for inclusion of BioPreferred and biobased products, and the number of applicable product and service contracts to be awarded, including construction, operations and maintenance, food services, vehicle maintenance, and janitorial services; and

(B) ensure contractors submit timely annual reports of their BioPreferred and biobased purchases; and

(v) reducing copier and printing paper use and acquiring uncoated printing and writing paper containing at least 30 percent postconsumer recycled content or higher as designated by future instruction under section 4(e) of this order;

The requirements specified in this subsection replaces the previous Executive Order 13423 of January 24, 2007 which directed federal agencies to purchase IT products that were EPEAT registered.

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that provide specifications, standards, or labels that meet the requirements will need to be developed. This has the potential to bring many other types of EEE products within scope of sustainability requirements.

ECD Compliance will be tracking the implementation of this Executive Order and will provide updates when new information becomes available.

[1] Executive Order:

Environment Canada Proposes Restriction of HBCD, PFOA, LC-PFCAs, PBDEs, and PFOS

Proposed Regulations Amending the Canadian Prohibition of Certain Substances Regulations, 2012 were published on April 4, 2015. The proposed amendment adds five substances to the Prohibition Regulations, including the substances:

  • hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD);
  • perfluorooctanoic acid, its salts, and its precursors (PFOA);
  • perfluorocarboxylic acids, their salts, and their precursors (LC-PFCAs);
  • olybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); and
  • perfluorooctane sulfonate and its salts and its precursors (PFOS).

These substances have known uses in a variety of consumer and commercial products including several types of electrical and electronic products.  The proposed regulations are available in the Canadian Gazette, part 1. A public comment period is open from April 4, 2015 to June 18, 2015.

In general, the substance restrictions take effect immediately at the coming into force of the regulation. Temporary exemptions and long-term permitted uses have been specified for specific applications for some of the substances.

Contact ECD Compliance for additional information on the proposed regulations and impact of these regulations on your products.

IEC 62474 Declarable Substance List Updated – April 8, 2015

An update to the IEC 62474 declarable substance list (DSL) and data exchange format was published on April 8, 2015. Regulatory changes prompted 5 new and modified substance entries. Nearly 30 other changes were implemented as part of a year-long DSL review to identify substances whos names have changed in regulatory usage and to implement common naming conventions.

Details of the update are provided on the IEC 62474 blog.

Singapore Clarifies RoHS Proposal

The Singapore National Environment Agency (NEA) is proposing a Singapore RoHS regulation. The proposal aligns with the EU RoHS Directive, but initially targets only 6 common consumer product categories. The six product categories targeted for RoHS compliance are: Mobile Phones, Mobile computers, Refrigerators, Air conditioners, Panel TVs and Washing Machines. A NEA study has found that 95% of these products are already compliant and intends to ensure compliance of all such products that are sold in Singapore. The proposal suggests that a one-year grace period (transition time) will be provided for manufacturers and importers to comply with the restrictions from the date the regulation is gazetted.

In their response to a public consultation on the proposed regulation, the NEA clarified that

  • Batteries would be excluded from the scope of Singapore RoHS (same as EU RoHS)
  • The RoHS exemptions would be aligned with EU RoHS (Annex III) and updated regularly to remain in alignment.
  • Manufacturers and importers of EEE will be required to submit a RoHS Declaration of Conformity prior to selling EEE product in Singapore (this is different from the enforcement approach employed in the EU).
  • Non-RoHS EEE may still be manufactured in Singapore for export; however, the manufacturer will need to apply for a hazardous substance licence from NEA.


RoHS 2 Phthalates Restriction Clarified for Spare Parts and Cables

The European Commission has clarified the impact of the upcoming RoHS 2 Phthalates restrictions on spare parts and cables for products that were put on the EU market before the new substance restrictions come into effect.  The clarification was made March 13, 2015 in response to comments the EC had received to their WTO notification of the draft amendment adding the four phthalate substances to Annex II of the RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU).

The Commission proposed the following draft recommendation to be included in the ANNEX II amendment:

“The restriction of DEHP, BBP and DBP shall not apply to cables or spare parts for the repair, the reuse, the updating of functionalities or upgrading of capacity of the EEE of ANNEX I categories 1-7, 10 and 11 that is placed on the market before 22 July 2019, and the EEE of ANNEX I categories 8 and 9 that is placed on the market before 22 July 2021.”

ECD Compliance is providing services to assist manufacturers with implementing the phthalates restrictions in supply chain management and manufacturing operations efficiently and cost effectively.



EU REACH – 48 Substances to be Reviewed in 2015

ECHA has adopted a plan to evaluate 134 substances under the REACH regulation during the 2015-2017 timeframe. The plan, which is referred to as the Community rolling action plan (CoRAP), lists the substances that EU member states will be assessing and proposing as potential SVHCs for the Candidate List or other possible regulation under REACH. The plan contains 134 substances, 66 of which have been newly selected and 68 substances that are left over from the plan that was announced in March 2014.

Of the 134 substances, the intention is to evaluate at least 48 of the substances in 2016, another 48 substances in 2016, and 38 substances in 2017.

[1] ECHA press Release:

[2] ECHA proposal to the Member States: Draft Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) update for years 2015-2017

[3] For additional information on the March 2014 plan, see the ECD blog post at

BNST Permits in Canada – Recommendations for Importers and Foreign Manufacturers

BNST Use in Electrical and Electronic Products

As of March 14, 2015, the importation of products into Canada containing lubricants that use BNST as an additive will no longer be legal unless the importer has a permit from Environment Canada. BNST, a common abbreviation for the substance Benzenamine, N-phenyl-, Reaction Products with Styrene and 2,4,4-Trimethylpentene, provides benefit in lubricants as a antioxidant, corrosion inhibitor, scavenger, and anti-scaling agent; therefore, eliminating the BNST can impact performance and long-term reliability which needs to be carefully assessed during substitution. The substance is effective in improving reliability but is also toxic to human health and the environment.

The BNST ban has been a major challenge for the electrical, electronics and automotive industries; particularly any products that contain motors and sliding mechanisms that use lubricant.  For example, BNST lubricants were commonly used in many brands of computer hard disk drives (HDD). It may also be used in motors in HVAC equipment to improve reliability.  BNST is not currently listed on the EEE industry standard (IEC 62474) declarable substances list (DSL) which has caused a lack of visibility and declaration of the substance down the supply chain.  (Note: BNST will be added to the IEC 62474 DSL during the next update cycle (late March).

Many EEE manufacturers throughout the supply chain started re-designing products with BNST-free lubricants in 2014, but some of the design changes will not be completed until 2015. Many downstream manufacturers and importers have been learning about the use of BNST in their product just recently. They may also have large inventory of parts and products that may contain BNST, creating logistical challenges.  In some cases, manufacturers are also having difficulty in obtaining confirmation from their supply chain as to whether BNST is used or not. Spare parts that are in inventory and may no longer be in production will be a particular challenge for many organizations. Environment Canada has suggested that manufacturers and importers should use a conservative approach in such situations when it’s not possible to confirm that the product is BNST-free.

Additional background information on the BNST Regulation in Canada is provided in our previous article “BNST Restriction in Lubricants Takes Effect in Two Months“.

BNST Permits / Foreign Manufacturers

The Canadian Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 anticipated that it may not be possible to eliminate BNST for all products and it provides a mechanism for manufacturers and importers to obtain permits for up to an additional three years if requirements specified in the Regulations are met. If your organization needs additional time to eliminate BNST or to confirm it’s absence, obtaining a permit for March 2015-March 2016 can help reduce business risk and avoid customer issues.

Permit applications must be submitted by the Canadian manufacturer or the importer.This creates a challenge for U.S. or other foreign manufacturers that sell products to several Canadian importers. There is no mechanism in the regulations for a foreign manufacturer to obtain a permit (e.g. through an only representative as would be the case in the EU) and then have the permit available to downusers importers. However, there is a workaround. A foreign manufacturer may compile a group BNST permit application on behalf of its downstream importers.  In this way the manufacturer is supporting their customers by off-loading the permit application process. This ensures that they can continue their business operations without interruption (once the permit is granted).

Obtaining a BNST Permit as Quickly as Possible

The key to expediting a BNST permit application is to ensure that all of the information needed by Environment Canada to assess and grant the permit is provided in the application. Environment Canada cannot issue the permit if any of the permit requirements specified in the regulation are not met. If Environment Canada needs to request additional information, the process will be delayed.

The official BNST permit application processing time is 60 business days; however, Environment Canada has been able to process applications in signfiicantly less time when complete information is provided during the initial submission and is in a format that is easy to assess.

The permit application requires information on BNST use in products, sales data, sales forecast data, customer information and justification for continued use of BNST. Environment Canada has provided interpretation and guidance on some of these requirements which can help simplify the data collection. Also, confidential business information can be protected by using a slightly modified submission process.

ECD Compliance can assess your situation and quickly compile the permit application with the necessary information. The permit application can be compiled and submitted within a few days and will leverage our experience with the industry supply chain and the efforts underway to design out BNST. We have successfully worked with the electronics, HVAC, and automotive industries on BNST requirements and permits. If you are a foreign manufacturer that would like to submit a permit application for your importers, utilizing ECD Compliance as an independent third party can be ideal to protect your importers’ confidential information.

EU REACH – Consultation for Two New SVHCs

A public consultation on two new SVHC Candidate List proposals began on March 2, 2015 and will continue through April 16, 2015. The new substances proposed for addition to the SVHC Candidate List are:

  • 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 (EC No. 201-559-5)
  • 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]

Assuming that no major discrepancies are identified during the consultation, the new SVHCs will likely be added to the SVHC Candidate List in June 2015.

The IEC 62474 validation team is currently assessing these substances to determine if they are constituents of EEE. The first substance is specified as a combination of two phthalates (neither of which is an SVHC) with small quantity (above 0.3%) of DnHP — this substance description is likely to be a challenge for the EEE supply chain to deal with.