Halogen-free Guideline

Flame-retarded plastics are commonly needed to meet strict fire safety codes for electronic equipment.  Certain halogenated compounds are used as flame retardants in a variety of applications including thermoplastics, insulation materials, component mold compounds, solder masks and printed circuit board laminates.  In addition, polyvinyl chloride or PVC (a resin that contains chlorine, a halogen) is a commonly used base resin for certain cable jacketing.  However, concerns have arisen that these materials may pose certain risks to health or the environment particularly at end-of-life.

The project team will prepare a comprehensive Halogen-free Guideline.

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Idea Information

Background: 

Flame-retarded plastics are commonly needed to meet strict fire safety codes for electronic equipment.  Certain halogenated compounds are used as flame retardants in a variety of applications including thermoplastics, insulation materials, component mold compounds, solder masks and printed circuit board laminates.  In addition, polyvinyl chloride or PVC (a resin that contains chlorine, a halogen) is a commonly used base resin for certain cable jacketing.  However, concerns have arisen that these materials may pose certain risks to health or the environment particularly at end-of-life.

Several governments are considering regulation to prohibit or restrict the use of these types of substances in electronic (and other) products.  Within the marketplace, environmentally-preferable purchasing standards (such as TCO, Blue Angel, Nordic Swan, etc) also include restrictions on the use of these substances in certain products.  In order for the electronics industry to continue it's long-standing commitment to product stewardship, companies throughout the supply chain will need to understand which "halogen-free" alternatives are available, as well as the electrical, mechanical and environmental, health and safety properties of these alternatives.

Problem: 

Halogen-free PCBs and components have different properties and characteristics than do non-halogen free PCBs and components.  The properties of the HF materials are not readily available in a format and measurement method that is consistent.  It would be beneficial for all in the industry to have easy access to all key pieces of information about:

  • Environmental legislation and risk assessment data on halogenated and halogen-free materials
  • Properties of halogen-free materials
  • Halogen-free standards
  • Knowledge base of users of halogen-free materials

Definition Information

Approach: 

The project team will prepare a comprehensive Halogen-free Guideline.  The Guideline will contain information about halogen-free PWBs, components, films, cables and casings.

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