The BSEF (International Bromine Council) has voiced opposition to the ban on halogenated flame retardants contained within Lot 5 of the Ecodesign requirements for electronic displays (pursuant to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 1275/2008 and repealing Commission Regulation (EC) 642/2009.
The Regulation (Annex II), ratified on 1 October, states that from March 2021 the use of Halogenated Flame Retardant (HFRs) will be banned in enclosures (frame surrounds) and stands of electronic displays, as defined.
This includes plastic surrounds/frames for televisions, monitors and digital signage.
According to the BSEF, the ban was not formally presented to the WTO TBT committee, denying affected parties an opportunity to comment.
The group believes that the ban was inserted after the closure of the formal notification period, which effectively stopped WTO members from commenting on the move.
The BSEF argues that the ban is now effectively regulatory precedent, with the major concern that the Eco-Design Directive is being used as a vehicle to bypass the established provisions restricting the use of chemicals in electronic equipment.
These include Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and RoHS, Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive.
In closing, the BSEF statement said: “Assuming the power to restrict substances under the Eco-Design Directive risks creating legal uncertainty in the market and goes against the Commission’s own Better Regulation principles”.
The BSEF statement was based on the release titled “New rules make household appliances more sustainable”, published on 1 October, 2019.