Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Bioaccumulative Substances
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Bioaccumulative Substances
The re-classification and regulation of EDCs and bioaccumulative substances is expected to multiply the number of materials that will require control or replacement.
Materials Tech

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Authored By:
Bruce Calder
Claigan Environmental Inc.
Ottawa, Ontario

Summary
Until recently, virtually all restricted materials in electronics were classified as eithercarcinogens (e.g. Pb) or reproductive toxins (e.g. phthalates). Two new categories of restricted materials have emerged - endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and persistent organic pollutants (POP). These two new categories of restricted materials will bring into regulation chemicals that have not historically been restricted. This significant increase in material at risk of substance regulation is expected to change the design and procurement landscape in a way not seen in the electronics industry since the original EU RoHS Directive.

Conclusions
The re-classification and regulation of EDCs and bioaccumulative substances is expected to multiply the number of materials that will require control or replacement in electronic products. Many previous low risk substances (from a chemical regulation point of view) such as silicone rubber, PTFE, and EPDM will now require attention and controls that have not historically been in place in the supply chain. Furthermore, unlike ‘classically’ regulated substances such as Pb and Cd, these substances have not normally been declared on materials safety data sheets and are invisible in the supply chain. Future-proofing approaches such as ‘full material declaration’ have been found to have been unsuccessful in allowing detection of these substances from legacy information and screening test methods are still in development. Design of electronic products, and procurement of components and materials for electronics are expected to undergo a regulatory flux greater than what was experienced with the EU RoHS directive a decade ago.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings

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