While researching various types of printed circuit boards for your industry applications, you may have come across a mention of the halogen-free PCB and wonder if it is right for you. What is a halogen-free printed circuit board, and in what circumstances would you need one?
Do I Need Halogen-Free PCBs?
The short answer is that you probably want all your PCBs to be halogen-free. To understand why, it’s important to know what halogens are. Halogens are elements, many of which historically were used in printed circuit boards, often because it was cost-effective to do so. However, we now know halogens are extremely toxic to humans, and you probably do not want them in your PCBs despite their electronic benefits.
What Is a Halogen-Free Printed Circuit Board?
The family of halogen elements includes chlorine, bromine, fluorine, iodine and astatine. The most important elements with respect to PCB toxicity are chlorine and bromine. For a printed circuit board to be considered halogen-free, it should have less than 900 parts per million of chlorine or bromine, with less than 1,500 ppm of total halogens, as determined by the International Electrochemical Commission on Restriction Use of Halogen.
What Is So Bad About Chlorine and Bromine?
Chlorine and bromine contain many useful properties, which is why they have been used for so long. Chlorine is often used as an antibacterial agent in bleaches and pools. When it comes to electronics, chlorine can be used in solvents to clean computer chips or develop semiconductors, in flame-retardants to protect components and as an element of polyvinyl chloride coatings for wires. Bromine is also used as a sterilizing agent. It can be used as a pesticide and as a flame retardant in electronic components.
However, the dangers of these elements greatly outweigh the benefits. Chlorine or bromine exposure can result in coughing, nausea, blurred vision, skin irritation, trouble breathing and burning in the eyes, nose and throat. Prolonged exposure can be fatal. Chlorine-based components can also combine with hydrocarbons to form dioxin, an extremely deadly carcinogen.
For the sake of individual users and the environment at large, it is best to avoid PCBs containing significant amounts of chlorine or bromine. Fortunately, today’s technology allows for the production of highly effective printed circuit boards that work without making use of these deadly chemicals.
Order Your Halogen-Free PCB From Millennium Circuits Limited Today
Millennium Circuits Limited can provide you with halogen-free printed circuit boards that are safer and better for the environment than PCBs that are not halogen-free. To order printed circuit boards in a variety of types or materials, or to find out about related PCB products, contact MCL today.