Indium Blog

Canada Considers Banning Resins/Rosins

Got contacted last week by Tony Hilvers of the IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries). Tony tells me that the Canadian Government is considering banning some rosin and resin-based chemicals that may be of interest to flux formulators for both no-clean; solvent-clean; and even water-wash solder pastes and fluxes. The Canadians are at an early, investigative, stage here: allowing the various interested parties six months to respond.

My initial, knee-jerk reaction is as follows:

1/ While Tony and the IPC's rapid response is commendable, note that we in the electronics industry are not alone. Even a cursory Google search shows that the vast majority of these types of material are used in the following, multi-billion dollar, industries:

- Paper manufacturing

- Cosmetics

- Adhesives and glues

- Synthetic rubbers

- Coatings

- Printing inks and toners

We in the electronics industry are relatively small fry: combining our voice with that from these other industries, may give the Canadians pause for thought.

2/ If you're wondering why I'm so interested in this, it's simply because after the Pb-free switch in most of the Electronics Assembly industry, I am now seeing the Electronics Assembly and Outsourced Assembly and Test industries still in turmoil over the exact meaning of "halogen-free" solder fluxes. Industry sources are telling me that there is a strong movement to pull back from  the absolutist "zero tolerance for halogens of any kind" to a more rational call for a certain limit to them, based around the standard "9-9-15" halogen classification. The hard truth is that truly "no-intentionally-added" (NIA: that is, TOTALLY halogen-free) solder fluxes may, in some instances, simply not be as effective as those containing moderate amounts of halogens.. More on "halogen-free" in a couple of weeks.

3/ Eliminating rosins and rosin-derivatives, including materials that may be present in naturally-occurring rosin products, may not only have the beleagured Canadian timber industry up in arms, but will probably result in another protracted round of setting of allowable limits for "proscribed substances" some of which.... umm.... occur naturally.

All comments, corrections and clarifications gratefully received.

Cheers!  Andy