You may not have heard about RoHS (pronounced ROW-hass), but you will. It’s a set of laws passed by the European Union that restricts the use of hazardous substances in consumer electronics. Since we live in a global economy, most manufacturers will end up making their entire product line conform. One of the big problems with plasma displays is that lead is used in making the glass. (LCD glass is already RoHS compliant, though Corning has developed a new glass that is free of all hazardous substances.)
In a story that I’ve been following since June, Panasonic (and its parent company Matsushita) has announced that its entire 2006 plasma HDTV product line uses lead-free glass. This could give them a major advantage over competitors, especially in Europe.
The environmental costs of consumer electronics is too often ignored, and it’s good to see Panasonic getting some credit for its efforts to go “green.”