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The RoHS Directive

The Restriction on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (RoHS)

The RoHS Directive (2002/95/EC) (13 October 2005 2005/717/EC / 21 October 2005 2005/747/EC / 21 April 2006 2006/310/EC) lists materials and chemical compounds banned by the member States of the EC. The directive sets absolute standards and limits for hazardous material content in electronic and electrical equipment listed in Annex 1A and 1B of the WEEE Directive. However, the directive lists specific exemptions and adds some additional product categories. The Directive applies to the original equipment manufacturers, importers, distributors, and resellers of EEE for member States of the EC. The purpose of the directive is to protect human health and complement the WEEE Directive.

The Restriction on the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (RoHS)

The RoHS Directive lists materials and chemical compounds banned by the member States of the EC. The directive sets absolute standards and limits for hazardous material content in electronic and electrical equipment listed in Annex 1A and 1B of the WEEE Directive. However, the directive lists specific exemptions and adds some additional product categories. The Directive applies to the original equipment manufacturers, importers, distributors, and resellers of EEE for member States of the EC. The purpose of the directive is to protect human health and complement the WEEE Directive.

  • The list of banned materials and substances is detailed in the Annex of the RoHS Directive.
  • Banned or restricted substances include lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, certain brominated flame retardants (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
  • The restrictions are effective for any listed EEE manufactured after July 1, 2006 .
  • The Directive does not apply to spare parts used for the repair or re-use of EEE sold before July 1, 2006.
  • Exemptions will be reviewed every four years for modification.
  • Exemptions in the RoHS Annex include allowable maximum concentration values for various applications for mercury, lead, cadmium plating, hexavalent chromium, and other restricted materials.
  • As with the WEEE Directive, the RoHS Directive exempts electronic and electrical equipment specifically connected to the protection of the member States, arms, munitions, and war material. The exemption does not apply to military products not intended specifically for military purposes.

Specific to the restrictions on lead, exemptions are allowed for:

  • Lead in [the] glass of cathode ray tubes, electronic components, and fluorescent lights.
  • Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. tin-lead solder containing more than 85% lead).
  • Lead in solders for servers, storage, and storage array systems (exemption until 2010).
  • Lead in solders for network infrastructure equipment for switching, signaling, transmission as well as network management for telecommunication.
  • Lead in electronic ceramic parts (e.g. piezoelectronic devices).
  • The restrictions do not apply to batteries.
  • Cadmium plating is exempt except for applications banned in other EC Directives, 91/338/EEC and 76/769/EEC.

RoHS Directive, Article 4(1) states the banned substances:

"Member States shall ensure that, from 1 July 2006, new electrical and electronic equipment put on the market does not contain lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). National measures restricting or prohibiting the use of these substances in electrical and electronic equipment which were adopted in line with Community legislation before the adoption of this Directive may be maintained until 1 July 2006."

RoHS Annex states exemptions:

Applications of lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, which are exempted from the requirements of Article 4(1)

1. Mercury in compact fluorescent lamps not exceeding 5 mg per lamp.

2. Mercury in straight fluorescent lamps for general purposes not exceeding:

    • halophosphate 10 mg
    • triphosphate with normal lifetime 5 mg
    • triphosphate with long lifetime 8 mg.

3. Mercury in straight fluorescent lamps for special purposes.

4. Mercury in other lamps not specifically mentioned in this Annex.

5. Lead in glass of cathode ray tubes, electronic components and fluorescent tubes.

6. Lead as an alloying element in steel containing up to 0,35 % lead by weight, aluminium containing up to 0,4 % lead by weight and as a copper alloy containing up to 4 % lead by weight.

7. Lead in high melting temperature type solders (i.e. tin-lead solder alloys containing more than 85 % lead),

    • lead in solders for servers, storage and storage array systems (exemption granted until 2010),
    • lead in solders for network infrastructure equipment for switching, signalling, transmission as well as network
    • management for telecommunication,
    • lead in electronic ceramic parts (e.g. piezoelectronic devices).

8. Cadmium plating except for applications banned under Directive 91/338/EEC (1) amending Directive 76/769/EEC (2) relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations.

9. Hexavalent chromium as an anti-corrosion of the carbon steel cooling system in absorption refrigerators.

10. Within the procedure referred to in Article 7(2), the Commission shall evaluate the applications for:

    • Deca BDE,
    • mercury in straight fluorescent lamps for special purposes,
    • lead in solders for servers, storage and storage array systems, network infrastructure equipment for switching, signalling, transmission as well as network management for telecommunications (with a view to setting a specific time limit for this exemption), and
    • light bulbs,

as a matter of priority in order to establish as soon as possible whether these items are to be amended accordingly.