Plasma TVs are all little environmental catastrophes waiting to happen when you dispose of them. Matsushita's doing their bit to make them a little less toxic by getting all the lead out of the screen. And they did it despite being granted an exemption for that lead. Bravo, I say.
Matsushita, along with Hitachi and Pioneer, jointly filed a petition to exempt lead used in plasma panels from the Restriction on Hazardous Substance (RoHS). The exemption was approved in October.
Matsushita nevertheless moved to eliminate lead oxide glass, introducing new lead-free materials for the dielectric layer, electrodes and other components. The performance and reliability of the lead-free materials such as bismuth is comparable to lead oxide glass, Matsushita said. New materials like metal oxide additives were also used, along with refining the composition of the non-glass components such as solvents and flux.
Now if they could just make the screen go dark when a camera is pointed at John Madden, I'll nominate them for a Nobel Prize.