ECOS involvement on flame retardants (in IEC/TC108 and CLC/TC108X)

The International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 108 (IEC/TC 108) is responsible for developing international standards for the safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information and communication technology.

ECOS became involved in this work in 2008 upon learning that an external ignition requirement (ICT equipment and TVs to withstand a candle flame for 3 minutes without catching fire)  was proposed for inclusion in the safety standards (IEC 62368 and IEC 60065-A2 Ed 7.0). Such a measure would have introduced hundreds of thousands of tonnes of toxic brominated and chlorinated flame retardants in homes, schools, and businesses around the world. This was initiated by the US Fire Marshalls, an organisation founded by the bromine industry.

ECOS was part of the steering group of a coalition of NGOs from the US and the EU providing all stakeholders in the process with detailed information about the adverse health and environmental effects of many flame retardants.

The coalition was successful in getting a two-thirds majority of the final votes against IEC 62368 in late 2008, most of which on the grounds supplied by the environmental community. The standard was blocked.

In parallel, these standards were being voted upon at the European level, by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) TC 108X. Whereas IEC 62368 applies to the bulk of consumer electronics, a similar requirement could not get eliminated from CLC 60065 on TVs in late 2008. This came into effect at the European level in July 2010.

Currently, there are proposals for a second edition of the standards IEC 60065 and IEC 62368, that both include the external ignition requirement for TVs. Should this requirement be supported, TVs worldwide will be inundated with flame retardants after 2013,  when these standards are expected to be adopted.

ECOS is committed in its role of advocating for human and environmental health within the standardisation process and will work against the adoption of these standards. It calls upon the related standard bodies and the other involved stakeholders in the process to take into account the evidence that has been supplied by ECOS, against the need for such a requirement as well as the adverse effects these chemicals have on humans and the future generations, and not support the external ignition proposal.

For further information please refer to the following resources: