Restriction of the Use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Date: Oct 29, 2007

Ratified by the European Commission on February 13, 2003, Directive 2002/95/EC on Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) was intended to enhance the availability of WEEE recycling. The objective of the EU RoHS Directive is to protect human health, particularly that of recycling workers, by regulating the use of certain heavy metals and hazardous materials in specific categories of electronic equipment. EU RoHS prohibits manufacturers from placing new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than specified levels of the following six substances on the EU market: lead; cadmium; mercury; hexavalent chromium; polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs); and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Certain applications of these materials have been exempted because no feasible alternatives currently exist. The EU RoHS took effect on July 1, 2006.

For a discussion on EU WEEE and RoHS, please click here

To visit the official EU RoHS website, click here.

For the full text of the EU RoHS directive, please click here.

For a discussion on the relationship of RoHS exemptions to EU packaging directive and CONEG limits, please click here.

China's measures for the Administration of the Control of Pollution by Electronic Information Products, otherwise known as "China RoHS," generally applies to a broader category of products than its EU counterpart. Promulgated on February 28, 2006, China RoHS imposes complicated labeling requirements and may require manufacturers to provide detailed component level material declarations for products that are placed on a "positive list." China also requires compliance certification with its RoHS legislation. Products on the positive list will be subject to mandatory compliance testing to be conducted solely by approved Chinese laboratories.

The first implementation phase involving initial labeling requirements went into effect on March 1, 2007. The implementation date of the second phase is yet to be determined and is dependent on the development of the positive list.

For more general information on China's RoHS from the American Electronics Association, please click here.

For a chart summarizing the differences between the EU RoHS and China's RoHS, please click here.

To date in the U.S., only California has enacted RoHS-like legislation. Other states have enacted piecemeal legislation dealing with the use of brominated flame retardants in products or mandated recycling of certain products like cell phones.

For a comparison of different U.S. state directives following the RoHS legislation, please click here.

For a presentation on extended producer responsibility and stewardship, please click here.

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