Hazardous Chemicals in PCB boards and The Importance of safely disposing of them

There is a great amount of effort that has been put to ensure PCBs have as little hazardous chemicals in them as possible. In 2003, the European Union set out to enact rulings for the restriction of hazardous substances (RoHS) in electronics and promoted proper management and recycling of the mentioned materials.

The 10 restricted substances are the following:
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Hexavalent Chromium
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers,
  • Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate
  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Diisobutyl Phthalate

Bittele is proud to offer ROHS Compliant/lead-free assembly at no extra cost. It is important to consider the checklist mentioned here to ensure your entire project will be RoHS compliant.

From the above list, a few of them are commonly found in PCB boards:

PB (Lead): An alloy of Tin-Lead (60/40) was commonly used in the solder that was used for both through-hole and SMT assembly. At Bittele, we use an alloy of Tin-Copper in our lead-free assembly. If there is a specific requirement to use leaded solder, we are able to accommodate that request as well.

Mercury: Mercury is another common toxic element that is found within electronics. It is typically not found in the assembly process but it may be found in batteries, LCDs, and some switches.

Polybrominated flame retardants: Brominated flame retardants, are chemicals which are supposed to slow ignition to prevent fires and are found in Epoxy Resin in PCBs. When subject to crude smelting techniques, in unregulated environments, they can release hazardous materials which could potentially damage the ecosystem in the surrounding areas.

How to dispose of them

It is important to contact a recycling facility near you where hazardous chemicals can be safely disposed of. The safe disposal of electronic boards is important for the health and safety of the community and ecosystem of the area.

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