Cadmium is a highly toxic and carcinogenic industrial and environmental pollutant, the use of which is therefore highly regulated.
The report was prepared by the Öko Institute eV (Freiburg, Germany) at the request of the Directorate-General for Environment (DG Environment) of the European Commission and has recommended a three-year extension of an exemption as part of the Restriction of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive. The same Öko Institute report recommended ending the exemption allowing the use of cadmium in LED lighting.
The report was called for when the European Parliament voted in 2015 by 618 to 33 against the continuation of this cadmium exemption opposing an exemption proposed by the European Commission. The Öko Institute had previously recommended an exemption for cadmium in quantum dots arguing that alternatives were not ready. This time around the report states that exemption would be justified "due to benefits that CdSe QDs could provide in terms of energy efficiency and in some cases also in relation to colour gamut."
“The intent of the RoHS Directive is to ban the use of hazardous substances in the EU. To recommend a continuation of the use of cadmium under this Directive in light of these inconclusive findings is misguided, at best, and irresponsible, at worst," said Michael Edelman, CEO of Nanoco, in a statement.
"Cadmium is an obsolete and hazardous technology that's never taken off in the mainstream market. In fact, sales of TVs using cadmium-free quantum dots already exceed those using cadmium by 20 to one. So why extend the use of this highly regulated and toxic chemical when there are safe alternatives available today that deliver market leading levels of color performance and energy efficiency?" he added.
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