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Chemicals of concern in electronics: Review of legislative and regulatory approach

Chemicals in products and hazardous substances within the life cycle of electrical and electronic products have been longstanding emerging policy issues under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). To further advance these issues, a GEF-funded project on “Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under SAICM” has been launched in 2019, running through 2022. Amongst others, the activities under the project aim at increasing the ambition of different stakeholders to track and control chemicals along the value chains of electrical and electronic products.

To provide a strategic overview of the capacity and models that exist for sustainable management of electronics, the project includes the development of a review of legislative and regulatory approaches for prohibiting the use of Chemicals of Concern (CoC) in electronics including the transposition of the EU Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). This report provides this overview.

The compilation of this overview is based on publicly available documents and reports identified through online research. Wherever possible, regulatory texts were used as primary sources, but secondary sources, such as news articles, press releases or publicly available industry information were also considered. The research was conducted mainly in English and French. Documents only available in other languages were accessed with the aid of machine-based translation tools where possible. Although extensive efforts were undertaken to find relevant regulations, the research approach is limited to the public and online availability of documents in the respective search languages and it is possible that relevant regulatory approaches were not captured in the analysis. The report therefore provides a comprehensive but not necessarily exhaustive overview of the various regulatory approaches for CoC in EEE. Further inputs from the international community are welcomed to complement the research, especially with regards to relevant regulations that are not yet captured in the report.

This document was prepared by UNEP under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) full sized project 9771: Global best practices on emerging chemical policy issues of concern under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). This project is funded by the GEF, implemented by UNEP and executed by the SAICM Secretariat. UNEP acknowledges the financial contribution of the Global Environment Facility for the development, editing and design of the document.