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Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive is likely to require the phasing out of: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBBs and PBDEs by 1st July 2006, subject to certain exemptions.

Designers will have to find cost-effective, safe alternatives for these substances and address the practical issues associated with using alternatives.

Substances banned or restricted under RoHS

Banned/Restricted Substance

Cadmium - Batteries, paints, yellow pigment, plastics additives (especially PVC used in cable assemblies), phosphorescent coatings, detectors/devices/LEDs

Mercury - Switches, pigments, paints, polyurethane materials (high gloss windows), lamps, bulbs/lighting (displays, scanners, projectors)

Hexavalent Chromium - Metal finishes for corrosion protection (chasses, fasteners), aluminum conversion coatings, alloys, pigments paints

Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) - Flame retardants (plastics, housings, cables, connectors, fans, components, paints)

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) - Flame retardants (plastics, housings, cables, connectors, fans, components, paints)

Lead - Solder and interconnects, batteries, paints, pigments, piezoelectric devices*, discrete components, sealing glasses, CRT glass*, PVC cables (UV/heat stabilizer), metal parts, chasses, washers

Product Exceptions

Aside from selected medical equipment and industrial tools, the only other exception permitted under RoHS involves replacement parts. The directive allows producers to supply “original equipment” or otherwise non-conforming replacement parts at any time to repair a non-conforming product that was sold into the market prior to the implementation of RoHS. Non-conforming replacement parts cannot be used to repair products that conform with RoHS, regardless of when they were sold.

For More Information

Part v draft regulations – DTI RoHS regulations – Government Guidance notes – Consultation draft, July 2004 -

For up to date information on the RoHS directive visit the Industrial Council for Electronic Equipment Recycling (ICER) website  and look under legislation: