EU extends hazardous waste regulations

An updated European law to control the use of hazardous materials in electronics equipment has come into force.The updated Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has been extended to include all electrical items, cables, and spares, apart from photovoltaic panels.

An updated European law to control the use of hazardous materials in electronics equipment has come into force.

The updated Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has been extended to include all electrical items, cables, and spares, apart from photovoltaic panels.

"Where there are alternatives available it is not acceptable to expose people or the planet to dangerous substances," Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said in a statement. "We all come into daily contact with products and these new rules increase further the level of safety we can expect."

RoHS are being gradually extended up to 2019, to give manufacturers time to implement the transition for new products, the European Commission said in the statement on Wednesday. Banned substances include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

Solar panels are exempt from the ban as part of an effort to reach EU objectives for renewable energy.

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