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Management of Chemicals in Products

Initiatives for management of chemicals contained in Toshiba Group's products

Toshiba Group manufactures and sells a wide range of products, from electronic devices (e.g., semiconductors and hard disks) to building-and facility-related equipment (e.g., air conditioners, elevators, and lighting devices), industrial systems (e.g., motors and railroad systems), and energy and social infrastructure products (e.g., power generation, transmission, and distribution systems). Various chemicals are used to manufacture these products. To properly manage these chemicals and to achieve our goal of minimizing the risks involved in the use of chemicals in accordance with the precautionary principles which were proposed and adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD*1) and other conferences, Toshiba Group has been promoting initiatives to specify the chemicals to be managed, to eliminate the use of specified chemicals (including the use of substitute materials), and to reduce the amount of chemicals contained in our products. In addition, we also promote communication and information sharing on such identified chemicals in each process of our production activities, from product design to shipping inspection, in order to minimize risks to human health and the global environment throughout product lifecycles.

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 impact of policies and regulations of countries around the world to enhance 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 impact 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 impact.

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 on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment

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Promoting use of alternatives to the four phthalates*3

Under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan, Toshiba Group promotes use of alternatives to the four phthalates as part of our initiative for the 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 plastics that must be pliable, such as 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 revealed in toxicity assessment. Therefore, in Europe and the United States, they are prohibited from use in toys or product parts that contact the skin for a long time.

Also, the Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2015/863 was issued in the EU on June 4, 2015 to amend Annex II of the RoHS Directive for electrical and electronic equipment, and the four phthalates were added as new controlled substances. Based on this amendment, use of the four phthalates will be regulated for electrical and electronic equipment sold in EU countries' markets after July 2019. Due to their regulation in the EU, use of the four phthalates will also be subject to regulation in various countries, including the UAE starting in 2020.

Against this backdrop, Toshiba Group reviewed the Toshiba Group Green Procurement Guidelines in 2015 to prohibit procurement of materials containing the four phthalates at an appropriate time. Meanwhile, we requested the cooperation of our business partners and suppliers and conducted a full-scale review of alternative materials. Under the Sixth Environmental Action Plan, we identify the parts of products (product groups) where business divisions are using materials containing phthalates to replace them with alternatives.

To promote use of alternatives while maintaining product quality, it is important to evaluate alternative materials’ reliability and to easily assess whether materials purchased contain phthalates. Toshiba Group has reviewed how to assess cables' bending strength and how to simply test whether polymeric materials contain phthalates. Based on the knowledge we have acquired through past reviews as well as information that we have obtained with our customers' cooperation, we will promote replacement with alternatives for all products (product groups)*4.

Results of FY2017

We have completed replacement of hard disks and POS systems with alternatives. We have already started shipping alternative products for POS systems.

Future initiatives

We will continue to investigate and take necessary action with the aim of completing replacement with alternatives for all products (product groups) by July 2019*4. We will first take action needed for MFP and air conditioners, and then from FY2019 onward we will further replace or take other actions for energy and social infrastructure products as well.

Bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, butyl benzyl phthalate, di-n-butyl phthalate, and diisobutyl 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 : Development of a simplified screening method for phthalates

Toshiba Corporation
Corporate Research & Development Center

In order to manage the use of the four phthalates which will be subject to regulation in EU from July 2019, a simplified screening method for phthalates is needed for the acceptance inspection and quality control in manufacturing processes.

However, phthalates are made up of carbon and hydrogen, which makes it difficult to perform nondestructive inspection through the X‐ray fluorescence analysis as performed so far for products regulated by the RoHS Directive. Complex analysis and evaluation methods were thus employed for phthalates which also required expensive analytical equipment and the engineers with high skill. We therefore investigated a simplified screening method that reduces the initial introduction costs and running costs and can also be implemented at factory and manufacturing sites. As a result, we have developed a method to easily and accurately evaluate the four phthalates at about 1/70 to 1/100 of the introduction costs required up to now.

In the future, we will apply our method to management of the four phthalates within Toshiba Group and also provide support to other companies requiring similar substance management. We will work to expand the scope of application of this simplified screening method so that it will gain recognition as an international standard method.


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Green Procurement Guidelines

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

Date Revised: January 1, 2017

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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Case : LED lighting

LED light engine
[Image] LED light engine
E-shape capped LED lamp
[Image] E-shape capped LED lamp

Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation

LED light engines and E-shape capped LED lamp are superior to conventional fluorescent lamps in terms of energy- and resource-saving performance. Also, some components are made of BFR-free materials that contain fewer chemicals.

Use of BFR-free component materials
To reduce use of BFRs, BFR-free materials are used in some components of LED light engine holders, reflectors, and reflector boards of E-shape capped LED lamp light sources.

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