Hunting Witches

In Europe, the fight against TBBPA continues, but at least this time IPC is on the right side of an environmental witch hunt.

The trade group yesterday issued perhaps its strongest statement yet on the matter, encouraging its members in Germany and Sweden to lobby their respective environmental agencies and government officials to keep Tetrabromobisphenol(a) legal.

In doing so, IPC broke with its recent history of abdicating difficult policy decisions. Faced with a proposed EU ban on lead and other primary elements, IPC took the position that it was a fait accompli, and chose not to rally its members to fight the proposed ban (now known as the RoHS Directive).

What’s interesting here is the similarities in the defense IPC is putting up. Then, IPC acknowledged the anti-lead crowd was using faulty science and that lead in electronics posed no risk to human health or the environment. Yesterday’s announcement, IPC wrote: “TBBPA is a popular flame retardant used in more than 80 percent of the world’s printed circuit boards (PCBs). A comprehensive EU Risk Assessment found TBBPA not harmful to the environment or to human health.”

It’s unclear to me why IPC decided to flip-flop on this one. But I’m glad it did.

This entry was posted in Hot Wires and tagged , , , by Mike. Bookmark the permalink.

About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow