The European Union conducted an assessment using the new RoHS methodology and has issued a technical report recommending that beryllium and compounds can continue to be used in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) and should not be restricted. Industry strongly supports this recommendation as confirmation of the material’s strategic value for many industry sectors due to its unique combination of properties that are unmatched by any other material. The continued use of Beryllium in EEE is beneficial to end users in terms of product performance, reliability and product lifecycle.
Oeko Institut, the external consultant contracted by the European Commission to conduct the assessment of seven substances – including Beryllium and compounds – for potential restriction under the Directive on the restriction of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) in the frame of Study Pack 15 issued its final assessment for Beryllium and compounds on 26 September 2019.
Following the health and safety data and usage information submitted by BeST and other stakeholders to the two stakeholder consultations (June 2018 and December 2018), Oeko Institut has ultimately recognised the significant economic and technical importance of Beryllium in EEE and has therefore recommended no EU restriction of Beryllium under RoHS.
The report confirmed that the presence of Beryllium in EEE does not represent a significant health risk to consumers (end-users) of EEE or impact to the environment. Workers processing the material are effectively protected through the adoption of the new EU binding occupational exposure limit and the implementation of industry best practices via the Be Responsible voluntary product stewardship programme (available at www.berylliumsafety.eu).
Beryllium metal, Beryllium-containing alloys and Beryllium Oxide ceramics, with the associated combination of beneficial and exceptional properties, can therefore continue to be used in EEE. It should be noted that Beryllium is mainly used in form of metal as alloying element in Copper in EEE (2% max Beryllium by weight). Copper Beryllium alloys present the best possible combination of desirable properties in terms of mechanical performance and electrical conductivity among all available copper alloys and are making it essential to the European connector industry.
Oeko Institut’s published review of Beryllium and compounds including their recommendations is available here.
Beryllium Science & Technology Association
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