In late 2002 the European Parliament approved two directives related to the reduction of electrical and electronic waste, namely the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directives. The WEEE Directive aims to regulate the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste electrical and electronic equipment; the ultimate goal is to prevent the disposal of this waste.
In the RoHS Directive, the use of the aforementioned substances in most electrical and electronic equipment will be banned or severely restricted. The RoHS Directive calls for the elimination of these substances from most electronic equipment starting 1 July 2006.
RoHS, also known as Lead-Free, stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC restricts the use of six hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. All applicable products in the EU market after July 1, 2006 must pass RoHS compliance. RoHS impacts the entire electronics industry.
Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
In addition, it may be considered a benefit that by implementing the requirements, the product will be safer for the user and this may also reduce damage and liability claims.
The Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulations set limits for the following substances:
- Hexavalent Chromium
- Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)
To certify to the above compliances, these substances must not be intentionally added to the product AND cannot exceed the following maximum allowable levels as a trace substance:
0.1% (1,000 ppm) for: Lead*, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium, PBB and PBDE
0.01% (100 ppm) for: Cadmium
Lead as an alloying element in copper alloys is allowed up to 4.0% (40,000 ppm); in steel up to 0.35% (3,500 ppm) is allowed; in aluminum alloys up to 0.40% (4,000 ppm) is allowed.