News story

Restricted substances in electrical and electronic equipment

New substances which will be restricted for use in electrical and electronic equipment following amendments to EU Directives.


The European Commission has published Commission Delegated Directive 2015/863 which amends Annex II to Directive 2011/65/EU – the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive.

This Delegated Directive lists new substances which will be restricted for use in EEE, specifically the toxic phthalates:

  • DEHP
  • BBP
  • DBP
  • DIBP

These substances have previously been classified as SVHCs, considered harmful to human health, and a maximum concentration of 0.1 % by weight will be established for each of these in EEE. These restrictions come into force at the end of 2016, except for medical devices (including in vitro medical devices) which came into force in 2012.

Laboratories will therefore need to be able to measure these substances accurately in EEE around the 0.1 % level in order to show compliance with the Directive. Both high performance liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry can be used for such measurements. Experience in our laboratory has shown that often the biggest challenge in the analysis of EEE is the extraction of restricted substances from plastic cabling used in EEE applications.

Published 17 June 2015