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Management of Chemical Substances in Products
Management of chemical substances in products
To minimize the environmental impact of chemical substances contained in products, we endeavor to identify chemical substances used in the components and materials of our products. In addition, for substances that are prohibited in products in major developed countries due to legislation such as the European RoHS Directive, we specify prohibited substances to globally ensure that they are not used or contained in our products, except in certain cases where substitution of the substances are infeasible. Moving forward, we will conduct environmental impact assessments for managed substances contained in our products, take steps to reduce the use of substances where the impact on human health and the environment cannot be ignored, and create plans to eventually prohibit the use.
Identifying chemical substances in products
To contribute to the achievement of the global goals set at the WSSD, it is important for us to disclose and communicate information on the chemical substances used in our products across the supply chain, for which we must promote cross-industrial initiatives to establish and disseminate an effective system. We are a member of the Joint Article Management Promotion consortium (JAMP) together with about 400 major companies from various industries, such as chemical, component, and equipment manufacturers. We are proactively formulating, utilizing, and disseminating chemical substance management standards and systems through this organization.
Because only the manufacturer of a certain part knows what substances are contained therein, it is necessary to request information not only to our suppliers but also to further upstream suppliers who do not have direct transactions with Panasonic. In order to ensure that the communication of this information flows efficiently, we have created an online e-learning site regarding chemical substance management in Japanese, Chinese, and English. In accordance with the update of the JAMP format in January 2012 in light of the recast of the European RoHS Directive, we have also updated the e-learning site in March 2012 and are providing explanations to suppliers.
In addition, to deepen the understanding on the handling of chemical substances among our suppliers outside Japan, we conducted practical seminars in China in fiscal 2011 to provide attendees with a general overview as well as training on the preparation and submission of data. We extended the seminars to Southeast Asia and other countries in fiscal 2012. In total, these seminars in fiscal 2012 were attended by 1,648 individuals from 1,037 companies over a course of 10 seminars, and practical operating training sessions using PCs were also held on five occasions and were attended by 237 individual from 186 companies.
Assessing the impact of chemical substances
Scientifically identifying the impact on human health and the environment of products containing chemical substances is vital to developing products with low environmental impact. We are engaging in activities designed to assess the levels to which customers are exposed to substances of very high concern (SVHC), as well as safety at the time of product use.
To date, we have undertaken assessments on the impact of phthalate ester contained in power supply cables and ceramic fibers used in some models of professional microwave ovens. As part of our efforts to comply with the EU REACH regulation which requires preparing information for the safe use of products containing SVHC we have created and disclosed a safety assessment document for both cases. In each case, exposure was considered to be nominal with little concern for any impact on human health.
Reducing the use of PVC resin
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a material of concerns to the generation of hazardous substances from inappropriate disposal, as well as the harmful effects of certain additive agents (phthalate ester) used to render PVC more pliable. In light of the significant potential for inappropriate disposal of the PVC resin used in the internal wiring of products-due mainly to difficulties associated with the sorting of this resin from used products-we have set a goal of using a substitute material in all new products introduced since April 2011 with the exception of cases where replacement would result in quality or procurement issues.
We completed our product quality evaluations in March 2011, and since April 2011, we have switched 802 tons of PVC-made wire products to non-PVC mainly for our AVC products, and have achieved our target.
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