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Chlorofluorocarbons

Volume 174: debated on Tuesday 12 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what he estimates the current usage in the United Kingdom of chlorofluorocarbons in the cleaning of printed circuit boards to be; and what percentage of total United Kingdom usage this comprises.

In March this year DTI issued a report on "Chlorinated Solvent Cleaning: The Impact of Environmental and Regulatory Controls." Among other chlorinated solvents, the report estimated United Kingdom consumption of the chlorofluorocarbon CFC113 to be 7,500 tonnes with 45 per cent. of that total applied in the electronics sector. The report does not contain figures for printed circuit board application in particular.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to stimulate and promote research into the replacement of the use of chlorofluorocarbons in the manufacture of printed circuit boards.

Both the producers of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) solvents and the users within the electronics industry are actively engaged in research to develop and implement alternative cleaning products and processes to reduce the use of CFC solvents in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. The range of alternatives available are described in a report produced for the Department of Trade and Industry and published by HMSO in March 1990, entitled "Chlorinated Solvent Cleaning: The Impact of Environmental and Regulatory Controls." The DTI, in conjunction with the Ministry of Defence, is to support a collaborative assessment by the electronics industry of the technical performance of the alternatives to CFCs. The results of this study will be disseminated to small and medium-sized enterprises within the electronics industry. Support for collaborative research is also available through general DTI research and development programmes and, for collaboration within Europe, through the Eurek Euroenviron programme. In addition, CFCs and their alternatives are one of the selected priority areas eligible for grant aid for research up to "proof of concept" stage under the Department of the Environment's environmental protection technology scheme.