- Flame Retardants
On 27 and 28 October 2009, iNEMI [link to www.inemi.org] together with INTEL [link to www.intel.com] held a symposium on "Global ICT Environmental Initiatives" in Brussels which was attended by 70 delegates from North America, Asia and Europe. In his opening remarks Steve Tisdale from Intel pointed out that this symposium was part of a global series with events in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2008 and Taipei, Taiwan, in April 2009. The aim for the electronics industry is to co-operate on a global basis on such environmental challenges as transitioning to lead-free and halogen-free systems or carbon footprints. The first day of the symposium focussed on flame retardant issues related to the elimination of halogenated materials. In Brussels, this is a very hot topic these days, because the European RoHS (restriction of certain hazardous substances in electric and electronic equipment) Directive is currently under revision and potential bans of additional substances are being discussed. Delegates from the European Parliament, the European Commission and NGOs like Greenpeace and Cleanproductionaction (USA) were present and contributed to a lively debate.
Some equipment manufacturers like DELL and HP have weakened their commitments to phase out halogenated flame retardants by 2009 / 2010 due to technical and supply problems, possibly also in view of the current difficult economic climate. However, this is also due to the fact that with flame retardants there are usually no drop-in replacements, but this technology shift needs some support and engineering efforts. The general trend towards reduced halogen materials remains unbroken which is also stressed by several iNEMI projects on the subject like the "HFR-free Leadership Program" [link to http://www.inemi.org/cms/projects/ese/HFR-Free_Leadership.html].
A CD with the presentations from the symposium is for sale from iNEMI - more information including the list of speakers and topics can be found here: http://www.inemi.org/cms/newsroom/Presentations/Global_ICT_Env_Oct09.html