Nanoco Group PLC

The End of Cadmium in Consumer Electronics is in Sight

Published on 30/8/2017

The European Commission recently announced its decision regarding the use of cadmium in consumer electronics: as part of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, cadmium will now be prohibited from TVs and displays sold in Europe as of October 2019. When it comes to the safety of its citizens, increasing awareness is no longer enough; this decision is evidence of Europe’s commitment to protecting its citizens from harmful materials.

“This is a much-needed decision, which will provide market certainty as to the end date of cadmium use in TVs and displays, with immediate effect for lighting,” said Dr Michael Edelman, CEO of Nanoco. “The European Commission is putting the health of consumers first and removing deadly cadmium from these household products in an expedited timeframe.”

“Throughout the RoHS evaluation process, Nanoco and other leading companies have advocated against prolonging the use of cadmium – particularly given those safe and highly effective alternatives are already a success in the market and being quickly adopted by leading global manufacturers,” continued Dr Edelman. “With this ruling, the end of cadmium is truly in sight. Responsible display manufacturers developing new products will need to start preparing now for a ban in 2019.”

Under RoHS rules, the use of highly toxic materials in electrical and electronic goods is restricted to levels intended to end their deliberate use, with specific exemptions for limited periods while suitable alternatives are made available. The limit for cadmium is <100ppm, which is only 1/10th of the limit for better-known toxins like mercury and lead, reflecting the extremely hazardous nature of cadmium. This limit applies strictly to the material containing the cadmium as a separable part of a component, not to the whole component. We believe that cadmium-based QD film components cannot comply with this restriction, and future display technologies would use QDs in even higher concentrations so that their use will effectively be banned. Display applications using cadmium-based QDs are only possible now due to Exemption 39, which the Commission has decided to end in 2 years, the minimum period they say is possible.

The European Commission is now offering consumers one option: the safe option. The RoHS Directive is supported by other global standards, such as IEEE 1680, which aims to protect the environment by restricting cadmium use (and other toxins) in electronic products.

It is extremely significant that the RoHS Directive will take effect in a little more than two years. Providing a safe and sustainable product that still delivers outstanding performance has always been our mission. Nanoco is ready today to embrace this new era of display standards with our cadmium-free quantum dot technology, which puts a premium on safety and quality. The cadmium-free future is bright and Nanoco is excited to be at the forefront of innovation in this industry.