Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

EU consults on whether to continue hazardous metal use

The European Commission has begun consulting on applications by European Union (EU) industrialists to continue using lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium for certain processes after a ban on their exploitation in electronics is imposed next July.

EU directive 2002/95/EC on hazardous substances in electronic equipment allows exemptions where there are no effective alternatives.

As a result, a series of applications for formal exemptions have been made. These include using mercury in switches; tin-lead solder on professional equipment leads; hexavalent chromium in chromate conversion coatings; cadmium-bearing copper alloys; and others. Brussels wants to check whether there really are no other viable alternatives.

Meanwhile, the EU Council of Ministers has approved changes to the EU end-of-life vehicle directive allowing car manufacturers to use toxic compounds that are banned in principle by the legislation.

It says lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium can only be used in vehicle materials and components, when specifically approved.

Ministers have now accepted calls from the car industry for some additional flexibility, especially regarding lead. For instance, regarding aluminium alloys, ministers have approved using lead content to 1.5% by weight until July 2008. They have also permanently allowed lead content below 0.5% by weight for bonding agents connecting elastomer ducts or parts, among other concessions.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.