RoHS review of the annex in view of reducing the maximum allowed limits of mercury in energy saving lamps Print
Friday, 11 March 2011 17:36

At EU level, the maximum allowed limits of mercury in energy saving lamps, among other, had been set, in an annex, as exemptions, under the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive in 2002. As requested by the directive, the annex had to be reviewed 4 years later.

As a result the Commission – DG ENV, ordered a study to be carried out by a consultant (Oeko Institute) to collect all available information and come up with a report/proposal of what should be the new (lower) limits for different categories in lamps.

Consultation started in April 2008. EEB/ZMWG/GPI submitted comments on 1 April 2008, and then attended the meetings organised by the consultant in June and September 2008. Further comments were provided to the consultant on 15 October and 10 November 2008. The final report from the consultant was sent to the EC in March 2009.

The suggested levels of mercury in lamps, although lower were following the industry line although the report mentioned that the NGO proposals were scientifically and factually backed up. The EC adopted these suggestions and formed a draft EC proposal on the issue.

The draft EC proposal (dated 26 March 2009) and the report were presented to the MS on 7 April 2009. The EEB/ZMWG/GPI in response to the EC draft proposal and the report had sent their reaction to the EC and the MS on 3 April 2009.

A revised EC proposal was circulated to the Member States (dated 27 July 2009). 14 Member states sent comments.

The EEB/GPI sent a consolidated version of their comments and data to all MS experts on 31 August 2009, accompanied by a letter, summary of proposals and annex. These can be found below:

Mercury in lamps
Letter to Member States
Summary table
NGOs Consolidated comments on RoHS review, concerning mercury in lamps
31 August 2009

Trying to find a way around the deadlock mainly referring to the proposed content of mercury for CFLs - it was at the end proposed to break in two categories, 0-30W and 30-50W. 
A letter was sent to the governmetns' experts on 7th October 2009NGO’s Comments on the classification of CFLs and their mercury content ((RoHS Annex review)

The Draft EC decision- dated 11/11/2009 was submitted on 8 February 2010 to WTO for comments. Deadline for comments was 20 April 2010. No comments appear to have been received.

The Member States where then requested to vote on this decisision by 10 May 2010, through written procedure. To our information the decision was voted positively although some concerns where expressed by some Member states on the level of ambition and the lenght of transition period. 

The Draft EC decision was submitted to the Council for scrutiny in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 5a(3)(a) of Council Decision 1999/468/EC, on the 8 June 2010. It appears that the Council will not oppose the proposed measures.

In parallel, the Draft EC decision was submitted to the European Parliament for scrutiny. Deadline for the European Parliament to object this decision, was the 20 August 2010. No objection was raised by the European Parliament.

The new annex was adopted as EC Decision 2010/571, amending the Annex of the Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment, 2002/95 , under the Comitology procedure and corrigendum and incorporated at the RoHS directive (consolidated version) on 1st October 2010.

The NGOs published a press release on that day to welcome the adoption of the revised annex.