MEPs objected to a European Commission proposal to extend an exemption allowing the use of cadmium, a toxic and carcinogenic substance, in illumination and display lighting applications, in a vote on Wednesday. Given that cadmium-free alternatives are available, the proposal to exempt the use cadmium from existing legislation on hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) until July 2017 is not justified, they say.
MEPs opposed the draft proposal by the European Commission with 618 votes to 33 and 28 abstentions.
MEPs recall that RoHS directive exemptions must fulfil certain conditions, inter alia the absence of a reliable technical alternative to using the substance.
MEPs consider the key justification given by the Commission for granting a specific exemption - that cadmium-free quantum dots are not yet technically available – to be “manifestly incorrect”. They note that “A whole line of TVs based on this technology has become widely available on the Union market, by well-known major retailers”.
Moreover, products with displays using cadmium quantum dots are either currently unavailable, available only in the US, or have yet to be launched.
They also note that independent consultants who assessed the applications on the Commission’s behalf concluded that an exemption for lighting would not be justified.
Parliament’s rejection of the delegated directive does not ban cadmium quantum dots, but will trigger a new assessment. There are therefore no market distortions, as the current exemption remains valid until revoked, say MEPs.
Moreover, there have been important new developments with regard to the commercial availability of products based on cadmium-free quantum dot technology which require a new assessment, they add.