Panasonic (Osaka, Japan), the leading brand of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., said today it completed the content analysis of specific chemical substances in the components and materials used in all its products, totaling approximately 1.32 million different items.
The company accomplished the non-use of the specific chemical substances in 96 percent of all the items at the end of March 2005 and expects to eliminate the use of these substances by the end of October 2005, excluding applications that are to be exempted from the RoHS directive.
Specific chemical substances, as designated by the EU Directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive), consist of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and two specific brominated flame retardants - PBB (polybrominated biphenyl) and PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ether). The RoHS Directive will ban sales of electrical and electronic equipment using these substances from the EU market by July 2006.
Panasonic's content analysis of the components and materials it procures found about 290,000 items did contain the substances. Approximately 240,000 of the items have now been substituted with alternative products, while the remaining 50,000 items, mainly consisting of common components used for semiconductors and thermal fuses, are currently undergoing a switchover to alternatives that meet the same quality and safety standards.
Panasonic initiated the switchover in its procurement activities with the cooperation from more than 11,000 suppliers worldwide, who have registered relevant data of chemical constituents of their products to the online Product Chemical Substance Management System (GP-Web system). The web site was specifically developed to consolidate the management of the use of chemical substances on a global basis. Panasonic has also developed a simplified analysis method for hexavalent chromium.
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