SAFEGUARDS | Electrical & Electronics NO. 065/17

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The IEC has published two test standards IEC 62321-7-2:2017 for hexavalent chromium and IEC 62321-8:2017 for phthalates in polymers.

IEC 62321 is a test method developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The first edition of IEC 62321:2008 was a ‘stand-alone’ standard, which included introduction, test methods as well as mechanical sample preparation, for determining levels of lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) contained in inorganic and organic compounds, and two types of brominated flame retardants, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) contained in electrotechnical products.

It has been more than nine years since the publication of IEC 62321 in 2008. During the last few years, IEC 62321 was combined with IEC/PAS 62596and subdivided into nine parts. These have become a series international standard as shown in table 1 below. The first six parts (IEC 62321-1, -2, -3-1, -3-2, -4, -5) were published in May and June of 2013, IEC 62321-6 and IEC 62321-7-1 were published in June and September of 2015.

On March 28, 2017, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published two new test standards, IEC 62321-7-2:2017 and IEC 62321-8:2017, for hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment for determining hexavalent chromium and phthalates in polymeric materials.

IEC 62321-7-2:2017 “Determination of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in polymers and electronics by the colorimetric method”, will replace IEC 62321:2008 (Annex C). The new standard describes procedures to measure hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI), quantitatively in samples of polymers and electronics. This method employs organic solvent to dissolve or swell the sample matrix, followed by an alkaline digestion procedure to extract Cr(VI) from samples. While the previous version only used alkaline solution extraction. Studies have shown that organic/alkaline solution is more effective than acidic solution in extracting Cr(VI) from samples.

IEC 62321-8:2017 specifies two normative and two informative techniques for the determination of di-isobutyl phthalate (DIBP), di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), benzylbutyl phthalate (BBP), di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), di-n-octyl phthalate (DNOP), di-isononyl phthalate (DINP) and di-iso-decyl phthalate (DIDP) in polymers of electrotechnical products.

Table 1. The first and updated edition of IEC 62321 standard

First Edition Updated Edition Current Status      

IEC 62321:2008

Determination of levels of six regulated substances (lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers)

IEC 62321-1:2013
Introduction and overview

Published, Ed. 1.0

IEC 62321-2:2013
Disassembly, disjointment and mechanical sample preparation

Published, Ed. 1.0

IEC 62321-3-1:2013
Screening – Lead, mercury, cadmium, total chromium and total bromine by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

Published, Ed. 1.0

IEC 62321-3-2:2013
Screening – Total bromine in polymers and electronics by Combustion – Ion Chromatography

Published, Ed. 1.0

IEC 62321-4:2013
Mercury in polymers, metals and electronics by CV-AAS, CV-AFS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS

Published, Ed. 1.0
IEC 62321-5:2013
Cadmium, lead and chromium in polymers and electronics and cadmium and lead in metals by AAS, AFS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS
Published, Ed. 1.0
IEC 62321-6:2015
Polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in polymers by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
Published, Ed. 1.0
IEC 62321-7-1
Hexavalent chromium – Presence of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in colourless and coloured corrosion-protected coatings on metals by the colorimetric method
Published, Ed. 1.0
IEC 62321-7-2:2017
Hexavalent chromium - Determination of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) in polymers and electronics by the colorimetric method
Published, Ed. 1.0
IEC 62321-8:2017
Phthalates in polymers by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using a pyrolyzer/thermal desorption accessory (Py-TD-GC-MS)
Published, Ed. 1.0

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