|European Ministers have demanded for use of nano silver and long multi walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) to be banned in electrical and electronic products (like conductive inks). They are further demanding all electrical/electronic products be labeled to clearly indicate presence of nano materials in finished products, and manufacturers be obliged to provide the safety data of nano materials to the European Commission.
Nanosilver finds application as a coating for electrical appliances such as refrigerators, air conditioners and computer keyboards because of its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Multi-walled nanotubes consist of multiple rolled layers of graphite about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair and are used in electronic circuitry, capacitors and batteries. Nanosilver can damage the environment. There exists some evidence that free MWCNTs, if inhaled, could be harmful like asbestos. However, once incorporated in the raw material and converted to end product, MWCNTs would not remain free in the atmosphere. Some nano material producers are focusing efforts on developing conductive inks to replace bulk silver, gold and copper etching and processes in electronics production such as printed circuit and flexible circuit board production.
Further, some substances, including halogenated flame retardants and PVC, should undergo further assessments for safe use in electrical and electronic equipment, said Environment Committee MEPs. The list of substances banned by the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive should apply to all such equipment, unless specifically excluded. One such exclusion could be for renewable energy generation. Some substances can pose health or environmental risks during the life of an electrical or electronic device, or when it is dumped or processed as waste. The EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has a global impact, since it applies to goods imported from third countries as well as those produced in the EU. Furthermore, much EU e-waste is processed in developing countries, often in sub-standard conditions. MEPs called for further evaluation for a number of substances that are not currently restricted, including halogenated flame retardants and PVC. Any consideration of substances for possible restriction should be carried out under the responsibility of the European Commission, using the "delegated acts" procedure, but the European Parliament or Member States should also be able to propose substances to be examined. Furthermore, the assessment criteria should include the substance's potential health and environmental impact, as per the committee.