In tandem with its presentations at the Society for Information Display’s (SID) Display Week Conference in San Jose this week, Nanoco Group plc, a world leader in the development and manufacture of cadmium-free quantum dots and other nanomaterials, today provided additional context on why cadmium-free quantum dot nanocrystals represent the future of display applications.
The presentations at Display Week follow a decisive vote by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to reject the use of cadmium-based quantum dots in Europe. A total of 618 MEPs voted against the European Commission’s proposed extension to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) which would have permitted the use of cadmium-based quantum dots in Europe until 2018. Just 33 MEPs voted in favor of the extension and 28 abstained. The number of MEPs voting against the extension reflects the strong feeling within the European Parliament about the use of cadmium, a highly toxic material.
The overwhelming support to keep cadmium-based products out of Europe is significant as it underscores the fact that cadmium alternatives are currently available. It also offers a signal to the rest of the world: cadmium is dangerous and safe alternatives should be used instead. Some of the more frequently asked questions on the topic follow:
Is Cadmium dangerous? If so, why?
Cadmium is very toxic and carcinogenic. It accumulates in the body, so that even low level exposure builds up over time to dangerous levels. It’s very hazardous in the general environment, as well as in direct exposure, which is why it’s highly regulated. In Europe, the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) regulation recognizes cadmium as the most hazardous toxic heavy metal, giving it a maximum allowed level 10 times lower than mercury and lead. Moreover, cadmium quantum dot production is inherently more hazardous than cadmium-free production due to the handling, storage and transport of highly hazardous cadmium materials.
What alternatives are available to give consumers the displays they crave?
Cadmium-free quantum dots are available to meet manufacturers’ needs and the technology is either already available or about to be launched in high-performance TVs from the world’s leading manufacturers. The market recognizes the importance of, and advantages to, adopting a cadmium free approach.
What materials are used in cadmium-free alternatives?
Nanoco uses a range of non-toxic semiconductor alloys based on indium, which is itself classified as non-toxic and is already widely used in consumer electronics. It does not accumulate in plants and animals and is not highly-persistent in the environment.
“The benefits of cadmium-free quantum dots are clear and many,” said Michael Edelman, CEO, Nanoco Technologies. “We applaud Europe’s bold move to end cadmium use in the market and watch with interest what the world’s other innovation centers will do.”