China To Set "Environment Friendly" Electronics Standards

The China "Peoples Daily Online" reports that the Chinese government is setting "environment-friendly standards" for electronics and appliances. "Starting July this year, the European Union (EU) will close its door to electronic products containing certain poisonous materials. "That would be a hard blow to Chinese manufacturers," said the official who asked not be identified". Translation: the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive of the European Union comes into force this summer, requiring electronic goods and appliances sold in the EU to be made with strong limits on use of lead (Pb), Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent chromium, PBBs, and PBDEs. Chinese manufacturers either overlooked, or were late in redesigning, products made for export. Consequently: "China has enacted its first set of regulations controlling pollution caused by electronic products. The regulations, to take effect on March 1 next year, demand that all electronic products meet environment-friendly standards".In a remarkable sidebar to the US drive for environmental deregulation, US citizens will have the Europeans to thank for pushing for more environment- and health-friendly designs. Except for a few states, the US has no RoHS equivalent rule; yet, all US citizens will benefit indirectly from the European foresight. Presumably, goods not safe enough for Europe will still be sold in the US until the "dirty" inventory, made in China before March 1 of 2007, runs out. By no later than that date, however, exposure to hazardous materials will go down worldwide, as it will be unpractical to manufacture with two separate classes of components.