RoHS VIII – TBBPA in PCBs. Yes, that’s OKAY!!!!

First, some terminology. For those of you who know all the acronyms, skip to the part marked with ~’s.

PCB – Printed Circuit Board. Very vital part of electronics. Usually a fiberglass or other non-conductive laminate, with strips of conductive metals glued to the top & bottom and running through the inside. (Yes, I know that’s not very rigorous. Please don’t flame me if you are a PCB engineer.)
RoHS – Restriction on Hazardous Substances. A European Union directive.
PBB – PolyBrominated Biphenyls. A type of flame retardants used in plastics, banned by RoHS because it contains bromine.
PBDE – PolyBrominated Diphenyl Ethers. Another type of flame retardants used in plastics, banned by RoHS because it contains bromine.
TBBPA – TetraBromoBisphenol A. A type of flame retardant used in PCBs, it contains bromine but is NOT banned by RoHS.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The European Chemical Bureau (http://ecb.jrc.it/) has issued a draft report of their risk assessment of TBBPA. TBBPA is currently not banned by RoHS, but some groups are trying to change that. As with all materials banned by RoHS, just because there is damage and/or a risk of damage from what is being currently used, that does NOT mean that it will be easy to find a replacement that causes less damage or has less of a risk of damage.
The draft report (at http://ecb.jrc.it/documents/ Existing-Chemicals/RISK_ASSESSMENT/DRAFT/ R402_0505_hh.pdf, take out the spaces after documents/ & RISK_ASSESSMENT/ before pasting it into a browser) essentially says TBBPA is fine, and continuing to use it is not going to kill the planet. I have not had a chance to read the entire thing, but if I get a chance to do so I will try to post more about what it says.
The IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries, http://www.ipc.org/) has also issued a white paper regarding TBBPA in PCBs, also saying that use of TBBPA is not going to kill the planet. A summary and order form can be found at http://www.halogenfree.org/.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s