According to an article published by ELFNET, the European Commission’s legal services division has now reversed the deca-BDE exemption established in 2005. The ruling effectively bans the use of deca-BDE and nearly all brominated flame retardants in electronics as of 1 July 2006.
The ruling is based on the presence of nona-BDE impurities in deca-BDE. Since nona-BDE is not exempt, legal services concluded that a commercial deca-BDE exemption was inappropriate.
The ELFNET article states that the impurity rate is 3%, and since deca-BDE is used at rates of 10% to 20% in plastics, the resulting concentration of nona-BDE will exceed the 0.1% threshold for PBDE.
This surprising reversal is certainly shocking and not the sort of behavior one likes to see from regulatory bodies. Still, the change demands immediate attention from compliance personnel.
To minimize further risk in the area of flame-retardants, the best course of action is to eliminate all use of brominated flame-retardants from your products. You can no longer rely on a deca-BDE exemption to protect your business. If you have been collecting complete and accurate material declaration statements from your suppliers, the search for all bromine-containing parts will be relatively easy.
The first step is to determine if deca-BDE was used. If so, flag those parts and the using products. Those product shipments must be placed on hold for all European destinations. Next, find replacement parts that use non-brominated flame-retardants.
Ultimately, you want to apply this process to all brominated flame-retardants and purge your stock of this risk.