Continuing to Build Greener Products

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ChemSec issued a report this week showcasing 28 electronics manufacturers eliminating brominated flame retardants (BFR) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from their products. For those new to these substances, BFRs are often used in electronics to curb the spread of fire, and PVC-plastic is used in cables and casings. When disposed of improperly, including burning them at low temperatures, PVC and BFR can release harmful dioxins.

ChemSec’s report says “companies in the IT and communications sector are at the forefront when it comes to eliminating the use” of these substances, and it lists 155 IT and communications products that are either PVC/BFR-free or almost free (meaning only minor parts, such as in the external power cord or the circuit board, contain BFR or PVC).

This list includes 10 Dell products, including three OptiPlex desktops, our Mini 3i phone, and all of our monitors.

In our commitment to help customers minimize their impact on the planet, we’re eliminating substances of concern from our products. We restrict the use of cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, PBBs and PBDEs in Dell-branded products, and we’ve established public goals to phase-out remaining uses of lead and other non-regulated substances (including BFRs and PVC) in advance of legal requirements.

By the end of 2011, all newly introduced Dell personal computing products will be BFR- and PVC-free.

That said, legislation is an important part of ending the industry’s use of these substances. In 2006, the European Union established the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive to restrict the use of cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury and certain halogenated flame retardants (PBBs and PBDEs) in electronic products. EU legislators are now considering adding PVC and BFR to the list of restricted substances.

At Dell, we support including BFRs and PVC into the RoHS directive, as well as a ban on these substances in IT, telecom and consumer equipment in 2015. We hope EU decision makers revise RoHS to prohibit the use of PVC and BFRs in electrical and electronic equipment.

About the Author: Michael Murphy

Michael is Vice President and Chief Product Compliance Officer for Dell Technologies.  In this role, he works across all Dell countries of operation with Strategy, Government Affairs, Legal, Engineering Development, Operations, Risk, Sales, and Services to assure unfettered market access.  He is responsible for strategic engagement on global regulations and standards, leading Dell’s regulatory engineering for all lines of business, responding to global market escalations related to compliance, and overseeing Dell’s Design for Environment program.  He provides global governance for safety, regulatory, and environmental compliance of all Dell solutions.  He has a passion for Technical Government Affairs and increasing Dell’s sustainable product and packaging leadership across its entire portfolio. He and his team are one of the primary authors of Dell’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility report (  He regularly engages customers on the sustainability value proposition of Information Communications Technology. Michael has been with Dell Technologies for 24 years and held diverse leadership positions in global operations, program management, engineering, regulatory compliance, and environmental affairs. Prior to joining Dell, he served in the United States Army as an officer in the Corps of Engineers and Army Acquisition Corps where he led a variety of combat engineering and procurement organizations from 1990-2000.   After active duty, he served as the Director of Contracting for the Texas Army National Guard.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, is a DAWIA Level III Certified Contracting Officer, graduated the Army Command & General Staff College, holds a TS-SCI Clearance, and has a Masters in Sustainable Business from Bainbridge Graduate Institute. He is a board member of Keep Austin Beautiful, a Strategic Advisory Council member of SPLC, and manages Dell’s board relationships with of The Sustainability Consortium, GEC-EPEAT, TGG, HDPUG, ITIC-ELC, Digital Europe, USITO, MAIT, STEP, USIBC, and iNEMI.
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