As analysts predicted, more environmental laws are headed toward the electronics industry. At a November meeting in France, the European Parliament backed a bill entitled Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH). The law is designed to make companies prove that substances in everyday products such as cars and computers are safe. The properties of roughly 30,000 chemicals produced or imported into European Union (EU) countries would require testing and authorization to be used.
The EU passed the legislation 407 to 155 with 41 abstentions. The rules still need to be agreed upon by EU members and the bill will come back to parliament before it becomes law. REACH will force companies to substitute safe chemicals for hazardous ones when alternatives are available. The bill does not specify whether the RoHS directive renders electronic products clean enough to pass REACH. Industry analysts have argued there are more chemicals in electronic products that will come under scrutiny.