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Management of Chemicals Contained in Products

Initiatives for management of chemicals contained in Toshiba Group products

Toshiba Group provides a wide range of products, from electronic devices to building- and facility-related equipment, industrial systems, and energy and social infrastructure products. Various chemicals are used to manufacture these products. To properly manage these chemicals, Toshiba Group considers "minimizing the risks involved in the use of chemicals," the precautionary principles proposed and adopted at the WSSD*1 and other conferences, as an important challenge to address, and we have been promoting initiatives to specify the chemicals to be managed, to eliminate the use of specified chemicals (including the use of substitute substances), and to reduce the amount of chemicals contained in our products. In addition, in order to minimize the risks of these chemicals to human health and the global environment, we also promote information sharing on such identified chemicals in each process of our production activities.

Also, to respond to the globalization of business, Toshiba Group is developing global measures to manage chemicals contained in products. To this end, we gather and assess the latest trends in policies and regulations on chemical management of countries around the world and reflect them in Toshiba Group's management of chemicals.

Furthermore, to promote the Green Procurement initiative, Toshiba Group has specified "prohibited substances," whose presence is prohibited in procurement items, including product materials and parts, and "managed substances," whose environmental impacts should be reduced, based on their actual usage, via reduction of use and substitution. Our aim is to procure products, parts, and materials in cooperation with our business partners and suppliers to minimize the environmental impacts.

Toshiba Group Environment-related Substance List

Category Definition
Rank A
(Prohibited Substances)
Substances whose presence is prohibited in procurement items (including packaging) in Toshiba Group. Substances whose use in products (including packaging) is prohibited or restricted by domestic or foreign laws and regulations.
Rank B
(Managed Substances)
Substances whose environmental impact should be reduced, based on actual usage, via reduction of use and substitution, or recovery and detoxification in a closed system.
Due to sector-specific conditions and other circumstances, details of the management of chemicals (substances managed, management levels, threshold values, etc.) may differ among Toshiba Group companies.

Examples of regulations on chemicals contained in products in different countries
[Image] Examples of regulations on chemicals contained in products in different countries

WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development
RoHS Directive: Directive on the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment

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Promoting substitution of the four phthalates*1

Toshiba Group promotes substitution of the four phthalates as part of our priority measures for management of chemicals contained in products.

Phthalates are used as a plasticizer for PVC and other plastics. They are widely used in electrical and electronic equipment as plasticizers for cords and internal wire cable coatings as well as for various types of packing. However, concerns have been raised over the reproductive toxicity of phthalates. Also, use of the four phthalates has been regulated for electrical and electronic equipment placed on the EU market since July 22, 2019 under the EU RoHS Directive. Due to their regulation in the EU, use of the four phthalates is becoming subject to regulation in various countries.

Toshiba Group defined the four phthalates as prohibited substances in the Toshiba Group Green Procurement Guidelines and is promoting substitution of materials containing phthalates with alternatives*2 under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan.

Also, as technology development to promote substitution while maintaining product quality, we are evaluating alternative substances' reliability and developing methods to easily assess whether high polymer materials contain phthalates.

For our products for Europe, we have completed our response to the regulation that came into force on July 22, 2019 that restricted phthalates. We will continue to conduct thorough ongoing management of products subject to the EU RoHS Directive, and we will further substitute or take other actions for our energy and social infrastructure products as well.

Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, and di-isobutyl phthalate. Used mainly as plasticizers for plastics (cable coatings, etc.) and other materials; there is concern about its effects on the human body.
We aim to complete identification of alternative materials for some products (product groups) for which RoHS regulation starts in 2021 as well as for products not regulated by the RoHS Directive.

Case : Promotion of international standardization of a simplified screening method for phthalates

Toshiba Corporation
Corporate Research & Development Center

Focusing on the four phthalates in products added by the RoHS Directive in EU in July 2019, we have developed the thin-layer chromatography (TLC) method as one of the screening methods for acceptance tests on procured items and quality control of production processes, and we have been applying that method within Toshiba Group.

Since the specifications required for the screening of the phthalates vary depending on the user, it is important to choose the method according to the purpose. Among some screening methods with distinctive characteristics, the TLC method has the advantages of low cost and simplicity. In response to the needs of the electric and electronic industry inside and outside of Japan to reduce the management cost of the phthalates, we are promoting the international standardization of the TLC method as a screening method option.

At IEC*1 TC111*2 WG3, the IEC62321 series international standards for testing certain substances in products have been developed. Currently, the group is also working to standardize screening methods for the phthalates. We proposed adding the TLC method to the standards, and as a result, they accepted to consider standardizing the TLC method along with other methods. We continue to work on making the TLC method a part of the IEC standards.

The International Electrotechnical Commission
The committee of expert engineers to formulate environmental standards for electrical and electronic devices


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Green Procurement Guidelines

Please download a PDF file from the following link to read our Guidelines.

Toshiba Group Green Procurement Guidelines were revised to the newest version (ver. 6.1) on 27th April 2021.

● Major revisions

  • Amendment of Toshiba Group Environmentally Related Substances List due to enforcement of U.S. TSCA PBT final rules*
    ① Addition of Phenol, isopropylated phosphate (abbreviated PIP (3:1)) to Rank A prohibited materials/substances (category) (excluding phase-in prohibitions and exemptions, limited to products intended for the U.S.)
    ② Change in the threshold and addition of reference laws and regulations for polybrominated diphenyl ethers (abbreviated PBDEs) (including decabromodiphenyl ether (abbreviated DecaBDE))
    ③ Addition of five substances subject to the PBT rules to Rank B managed materials/substances (category) (excluding ① and ② above, limited to products intended for the U.S.)
The regulations on the five persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals and PBT-containing products and articles in accordance with the TSCA (U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act) Section 6(h).

Due to circumstances such as industry trends, details of our requests to suppliers may differ among Toshiba Group companies and are described in the Green Procurement Guidelines issued by the office in charge of procurement of Toshiba Group companies, Toshiba divisions, establishments, factories, etc. For the Guidelines of Toshiba group companies, please see the website of each company.

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Case : POS system

[Image] POS system

Toshiba TEC Corporation

POS systems make use of cable harnesses with assembled parts made from multiple electric wires (for power supply and signal communication) that have been bound together.

Toshiba TEC Corporation had been using PVC harnesses that were soft and provided a large degree of freedom in wiring. However, the company considered adopting PVC-free harnesses and is now using parts that do not contain PVC. Toshiba TEC will use this case study as an example to promote the use of PVC alternatives in other products.

Case : Elevator

[Image] Elevator

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation

In manufacturing elevators, resin-coated decorative copper plates as well as lighting covers and tiles made of PVC were previously used to provide color variations and finishing touches to the interiors of elevator cages as well as to increase elevator durability. Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation evaluated the possibility of using PVC-free materials in such parts and adopted these materials to produce PVC-free elevators.

Case : Ventilator instruction label

[Image] Ventilator instruction label

Toshiba Carrier Corporation

PVC had been used for many years to manufacture instruction labels for products (e.g., ventilation fans) that must be cleaned by customers with detergent. This is because PVC is known to protect printed letters from being washed off by detergent as well as to make it easy to use an adhesive that prevents labels from easily peeling off.

To find an alternative to PVC for instruction labels, the company tested different combinations of mounts, adhesives, and printing ink to examine detergent resistance and the difficulty of peeling off, eventually succeeding in commercializing a PVC-free label.

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