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NEA newsletter-202107

Latest Progress in Environmental Protection Laws and Regulations, Product Recall Case, and Experts Q&A

The EU renews the validity period of the exemption of Entry 42 in Annex IV to RoHS Directive
On June 2, 2021, the EU published Directive (EU) 2021/884 in its Official Journal, amending Entry 42 in Annex IV to RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) and extending the validity period of this Entry to June 30, 2026. Entry 42 exempts mercury in electrical rotating connectors used in intravascular ultrasound imaging systems with operation modes of high operating frequency (> 50 MHz). According to the amendment directive, due to the lack of alternatives, substitution or elimination of mercury in the applications concerned is currently scientifically and technically impracticable. Directive (EU) 2021/884 has come into effect 20 days after the publication in the Official Journal.

The EU intends to revise multiple exemptions related to mercury in Annex III
From June 14 to June 23, 2021, the EU issued multiple draft Directives to amend several exemptions related to mercury in Annex III to RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) and launched the public consultation. The draft Directives include: (i) revoking exemptions 1(a-e), 1(g) and 2(a)(1-5), in which exemptions 1(a-e), 2(a)(1), 2(a)(4), 2(a)(5) will expire 12 months after the adoption of the Delegated Directive and exemptions 1(g), 2(a)(2) and 2(a)(3) will expire 18 months after the adoption; (ii) after the adoption of the Delegated Directives, validity period for 3(a-c) and 4(e) will be extended for 5 years; (iii) after revising the terms of conditions of exemptions 1(f), 2(b)(3), 2(b)(4), 4(a), 4(f) and 4(c), a 3 or 5 years of validity period will be granted. The EU has set a four-week public consultation period for each draft Directive, during which stakeholders can submit their opinions.

ECHA launched public consultation on two POPs substances
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently launched a public consultation on two persistent organic pollutants (POPs) on its official website. The two substances involved in this consultation are 2-(2H-benzotriazol-2-yl)-4,6-ditertpentylphenol and Methoxychlor. POPs have the characteristics of environmental persistence, bioaccumulation, long-distance migration and potential toxicity, and are harmful to human health and the environment. Some POPs have been restricted under the EU POPs Regulation ((EU) 2019/1021). ECHA will evaluate the public opinions collected and decide whether to list the two substances as POPs. The public consultation period will end on July 13, 2021.

The EU intends to include Resorcinol in the SVHC candidate list
On June 1, 2021, the EU submitted a notification G/TBT/N/EU/803 to the WTO, proposing to add resorcinol (CAS: 108-46-3) to the SVHC candidate list. The draft is open for public consultation. Resorcinol has endocrine disrupting effects. ECHA had proposed in March 2020 to list it as one of the substances in the 23rd SVHC list. However, resorcinol was not included at that time because ECHA's Member State Committee (MSC) was unable to reach a consensus on the endocrine disrupting properties. In view of the latest evidences that the mode of action and strong adverse effect of resorcinol to the thyroid gland fulfils the World Health Organisation/International Programme on Chemical Safety (WHO/IPCS) definition of an endocrine disruptor, the EU once again proposed to include it in the SVHC candidate list. The public consultation period will end on July 31, 2021, and is expected to be adopted in the 4th quarter of 2021.

New York State will restrict halogenated flame retardants in electronic display enclosures and brackets
On June 10, 2021, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed a Family and Firefighter Protection Act (S4630B) related to the regulation of chemicals in electronic enclosures, upholstered furniture and mattresses, which would prohibit the use of organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs) in electronic display enclosures and brackets. Its stipulated electronic displays do not include: (a) any electronic display with a screen area smaller than or equal to 100 square centimeters or 15.5 square inches; (b) projectors; (c) virtual reality headsets;  (d) all-in-one  video  conference  systems;  or (e) displays that are integrated with appliances and are not available for purchase as separate products by end-users. Bill S4630B is expected to be implemented in 2024, which would make the state the first in the US to follow the EU in prohibiting the use of halogenated flame retardants in casings within electronic devices like computer monitors and televisions. The bill will become effective after being signed by the New York State's Governor.

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