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March 28, 2006 - Amateurphotographer.com’s Chris Cheesman and photograhyblog.com reported earlier this week that Pentax UK will voluntarily withdraw a number of photography products from the UK market, including medium-format film cameras, lenses, and selected film and digital compact cameras. The withdrawn products contain small amounts of lead that Pentax stresses "do not pose any threat whatsoever to users" but still violate new European legislation relating to environmental friendliness of disposed IT and consumer electronics products.
The legislation, Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2004 (RoHS regulations), comes into affect on the first of July. Lead, used in solder on circuit boards, is one of six substances that have been deemed environmentally hazardous and are now subject to very strict regulations.
The Pentax 645NII and 67II medium format film cameras are among the products to be withdrawn, though no other Pentax items have yet been publicly listed. Hasselblad, another company affected by the new legislation, has already withdrawn their XPan film SLR.
John Dickins, the Marketing Manager of Pentax UK, has stated, "Pentax would like to take this opportunity to reassure consumers that while it embarks upon the withdrawal of the products in question, the commercial role out of new digital SLR and medium format cameras, as unveiled at PMA earlier this year, will continue unabated. The remainder of this year will also see a number of exciting new product introduction across the company’s portfolio - all of which will be in tune with the demands of Pentax’s community of users."
Dickins continued, "Pentax would also like to stress in the strongest terms possible that current users are in no way in danger from existing models already in use - rather, this is a strategic move by the EU to move production away from the extensive use of materials that could be dangerous if found in large quantities, particularly in respect to their ultimate disposal, not in day-to-day usage."