RoHS is an abbreviation for “Restriction of (the use of certain) Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment” and it is a piece of legislation originally created by the EU to reduce the harmful effects of dangerous substances to people and the environment through restricting the use of specific substances in mentioned equipment. The legislation's primary purpose is to make electronics manufacturing safer at every stage of an electronic device's life cycle.
The backdrop to the introduction of RoHS was one of increasing environmental regulations worldwide and increasing concern for human health and safety and ecosystems around the world. Ongoing technological innovation together with consumer desire to have the latest gadgets are leading to the situations when products are disposed more frequently. Waste generated from these products has grown at a rate four times faster than common household waste. Hazardous chemicals in products were fast becoming a health and environmental concern. RoHS was created to limit the concentrations of certain hazardous substances in products.
RoHS is there for your own safety, plain, and simple. While you may believe that there is no immediate threat from substances such as lead and beryllium oxide, the issue with such chemicals is their long-term exposure. Simply washing your hands does not remove the negative effects of these substances because exposure is not limited to consumption. Exposure to a chemical is when your body is in physical contact with said chemical, which includes holding it with bare hands.
“RoHS Compliance” means that any product in scope should not contain any of the restricted substances or present in amounts that do not expose people or the environment to the risk of harm and that the company (manufacturer, importer, or distributor) placing the product on the market should maintain records to show compliance. Additional compliance can include a conformity assessment, marking, maintenance of compliance throughout production, and self-reporting of non-compliance.
So, what are the substances banned under RoHS?
Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
Mercury (Hg): < 1000 ppm
Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
Newly added substances:
Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm
Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm
When RoHS comes into effect, manufacturers had two options: either do nothing and face the consequences of non-compliance or redesign products with components that would meet the legislation.
GMA Consult Group highly recommend you to comply with RoHS requirements. Failure to comply with RoHS comes with direct business consequences beyond not only monetary fines. More significant are the long-term opportunity costs of lost sales, damage to the company's brand from negative publicity and loss of market share that may never be regained.
Manufacturers, retailers and suppliers of electrical and electronic products must comply with different regulations about the Restriction of Hazardous Substances relevant to their end market if they utilize any of the restricted materials.
Generally, RoHS in most of countries in the world is created on the base of the EU RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2) but has differences and requires manufacturers to not only be aware of hazardous substances in their products, but also to ensure they are eliminated or are only present in amounts that do not expose people or the environment to the risk of harm.
In order to do this effectively, companies must plan production of their electrical and electronic equipment ahead. Products cannot be placed on the market unless they meet the existing RoHS requirements. Early planning is essential to ensure compliance before importation to the target market.
RoHS regulations around the world:
Links to the official documents:
The information has been prepared by the GMA Consult Group team.
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