In part 1 (Products Containing Mercury Regulations published in Canada) and part 2 (Canadian Mercury Regulations to Impose Tight Restrictions on Mercury in Batteries) of our series of articles on Canadian Products Containing Mercury Regulations we discussed the scope of the regulations and maximum concentration limits for batterieis and other products and how they compare to the EU RoHS Directive and the EU Battery Directive. In this part 3 of the series we will look at mercury exemptions, harmonized standards for product testing and spare parts. There are still numerous applications, particularly with mercury containing lamps whereby mercury is critical to proper functioning of the product.
Prohibitions and Exemptions
Under the Canadian Regulations, a product that contains mercury may not be manufactured or imported in Canada unless there is an applicable exemption or if the manufacturer or importer holds a permit issued under the Regulations. The exemptions are listed in the Schedule to the Regulations and each entry includes the product category, the maximum total quantity of mercury in the product, and the end date of the exemption.
The exemptions are similar to the EU RoHS exemptions but not identical. In general, the Canadian exemptions are more flexible, allowing slightly higher levels of mercury content for lamps. For example, item 2(a) of the Schedule specifies that a compact fluorescent lamp for general lighting purposes (≤ 25 Watts) may have up to 4 mg of total mercury per lamp. The comparable exemption in the EU RoHS Directive (exemption 1(a)) allows up to 2.5 mg of mercury per burner (this was originally 5 mg but was reduced to 3.5 mg in 2012 and then 2.5 mg as of January 1, 2013).
The applications (product categories) specified in the exemptions do not align perfectly between the two regulatory instruments, so manufacturers will need to perform a careful comparison to ensure that a product containing mercury meets the Canadian Regulations.
A renewal of most of the EU RoHS exemptions will occur in 2016 and it’s possible that the EU maximum allowable mercury levels will decline further.
The Canadian Regulations provide exemptions for other product categories that are not exempted under the EU RoHS Directive. Other exempted products relevant to the electrotechnical industry include:
- Scientific instrumentation for the calibration of medical devices or for the calibration of scientific research instruments;
- Scientific instrumentation used as a reference for clinical validation studies;
For determining the level of mercury content in products, the Canadian Regulations references IEC 62321-4:2013, entitled Determination of certain substances in electrotechnical products — Part 4: Mercury in polymers, metals and electronics by CV-AAS, CV-AFS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS, which is also referenced by the EU RoHS harmonized standard for technical document (EN 50581).
The Canadian Regulations provide an exemption for replacement parts – this is similar to the EU RoHS exclusion for spare parts.
Technical support on environmental product regulations
ECD Compliance provides manufacturers and suppliers with services to track global environmental product requirements and assess the impact to their products and markets, including the Canadian Products Containing Mercury Regulations.