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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, February 03, 2005

EU directive leads to trouble

My preference for freedom of action versus government action is based on many things from principles to practicality. The following story illuminates why practically speaking state interference is a bad idea.
With little fanfare and even less publicity, the European Union announced two years ago that it was to ban the use of six hazardous substances in the manufacture of electronic equipment. The decision was part of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) directive.
The legislation said that from July 2006, the use of lead, mercury, cadmium and three fire retardants in the manufacture of electronic equipment would be punishable by a two-year jail term for individuals or unlimited fine for corporations.
When they were making these decisions to whom did they speak to? How do they know it was a good idea? By the sounds of things noone.
The scientific worth of the directive has also been called into question. "The aim was to reduce harmful substances leaching into the ground from electronic waste disposed in landfill sites," Mr Chinery (managing director of Dionics Plc) says. "But many scientists and engineers in the industry say there is no real evidence to prove leaching occurs," he adds.
Ok we might expect those from the industry to challenge the directive, but seeing as the other side of the argument is represented by the precautionary principle, they are no less credible than their opponents.
Despite there being only three grams of lead in the solder on the average circuit board, it is the glue of all components so the process of change is a difficult and expensive task.
Three grams of lead, you did not read that wrong. One solution to all this waste is to ship it to China, where it is recycled, albeit in unhealthy conditions. But that is illegal. So how does this fit in to the recently reawakened Lisbon Agenda?
I predict some companies will go bust because of this.
Enough said.

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