EU / February 2003 / February 2010
European Union Directive, to be implemented by all EU Member States according to the subsidiary principle by their means.
The purpose of this Directive is to approximate the laws of the Member States on the restrictions of the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and to contribute to the protection of human health and the environmentally sound recovery and disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment.
1. Member States shall ensure that, from 1 July 2006, new electrical and electronic equipment put on the market does not contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). National measures restricting or prohibiting the use of these substances in electrical and electronic equipment which was adopted in line with Community legislation before the adoption of this Directive may be maintained until 1 July 2006.
3. The European Parliament and the Council shall decide on the prohibition of other hazardous substances and the substitution by more environment-friendly alternatives which ensure at least the same level of protection for consumers.
Adaptation to scientific and technical progress
1. Any amendments which are necessary in order to adapt the Annex (on exemptions to prohibition) to scientific and technical progress for the following purposes shall be adopted , including:
(b) exempting materials and components of electrical and electronic equipment from Article 4(1) if their elimination or substitution via design changes or materials and components which do not require any of the materials or substances referred to therein is technically or scientifically impracticable, or where the negative environmental, health and/or consumer safety impacts caused by substitution are likely to outweigh the environmental, health and/or consumer safety benefits thereof;
(c) carrying out a review of each exemption in the Annex at least every four years or four years after an item is added to the list with the aim of considering deletion of materials and components of electrical and electronic equipment from the Annex if their elimination or substitution via design changes or materials and components which do not require any of the materials or substances referred to in Article 4(1) is technically or scientifically possible, provided that the negative environmental, health and/or consumer safety impacts caused by substitution do not outweigh the possible environmental, health and/or consumer safety benefits thereof.
The directive aims to contribute to the protection of human health and environment.
It states that the most effective way of ensuring the significant reduction of risks to health and the environment due to hazardous substances in the electrical and electronic equipment ,is substituting the hazardous substances by safer substances/materials or technical alternatives;
There are specific references to the substitution of Cadmium, heavy metals, PBDEs and PBBs in electrical and electronic equipment.
It is also mentioned that exemptions from the substitution requirement should be permitted if substitution is not practicable from the scientific and technical point of view or if the negative environmental or health impacts caused by substitution are likely to outweigh the human and environmental benefits.
DIRECTIVE 2011/65/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, published on 01 July 2011, entry into force on 21 July 2011. Go to original document.
Last update: 15.07.2011