SGS Announces EU to Broaden Cadmium and Mercury Ban in Batteries

On 10 October 2013, the European Parliament voted positive on a new law to ban mercury in button cell batteries from autumn 2015 and phase out the current exemption of cadmium accumulators’ application for cordless power tools by 31 January 2016. The changes will be implemented by a new law amending the European Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC (1).

Taunusstein, Germany, November 19, 2013 --( In April 2013 SGS informed you ( about the intention of the European Parliament Environmental Committee to ban mercury and cadmium in certain battery types (2). Meanwhile the European parliament had a positive vote to follow the proposal and ban mercury in button cells and cadmium in rechargeable batteries in power tools and other applications (3).

Changes in the European Battery Directive

The European Battery Directive currently in force allows the use of nickel-cadmium batteries in certain product categories like emergency and alarm systems (including emergency lighting), medical equipment, or cordless power tools despite the general cadmium restriction of 0,002% in portable batteries and accumulators. After enforcement of the new law the use of this type of batteries will be further limited for the use in emergency systems and lighting as well as in medical equipment. Power tools makers will need to turn to alternative technologies like lithium-ion-batteries. Manufacturers are also required to consider a possibility for an easy removing of waste batteries, at least by professional parties, in the design of their products.

In addition to tightening of cadmium bans the European Parliament continues its policy to remove mercury from waste streams and environment by including a ban of mercury in button cells. Such batteries are commonly used in small electronic devices like watches, toys or remote controls. The proposed new rule indicated that the ban of mercury in button cells will align with the current Battery Directive mercury limit of 0,0005 %.

After implementation of the new law affected batteries and accumulators may be sold until the stock is exhausted.


(1) Official Journal of the European Union - Directive 2006/66/EC (

(2) SafeGuardS No. 057/13 Apr 2013(

(3) European Parliament News - MEPs ban cadmium from power tool batteries and mercury from button cells (

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Dr. Udo Krischke
Global Technical Manager Restricted Substances Testing Services
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Im Maisel 14
65232 Taunusstein

t: +49 6128 - 744 235

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SGS Consumer Testing Services
Dr. Udo Krischke
+49 6128 - 744 235
Global Marketing Manager