What is RoHS? 
RoHS is the acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. RoHS, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, originated in the European Union and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. All applicable products in the EU market after July 1, 2006must pass RoHS compliance.

What are the restricted materials mandated under RoHS?
The substances banned under RoHS are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

Why is RoHS compliance important?
The restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling.

How are products tested for RoHS compliance?
Portable RoHS analyzers, also known as X-ray fluorescence or XRF metal analyzers, are used for screening and verification of RoHS compliance.

Which companies are affected by the RoHS Directive?
Any business that sells applicable electronic products, sub-assemblies or components directly to EU countries, or sells to resellers, distributors or integrators that in turn sell products to EU countries, is impacted if they utilize any of the restricted materials.

What about RoHS 2?
The proposed changes to the original RoHS Directive in RoHS2 are minor. No additional substances have been added to the six currently restricted. Inclusion of RoHS categories 8 (medical devices) and 9 (control and monitoring instruments) products in RoHS is now proposed, with the proposed dates for inclusion being 2012 or later.

RoHS Restricted Substances

RoHS specifies maximum levels for the following six restricted materials:

Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
Lead is commonly used in the electrical and electronics industry in solder, lead-acid batteries, electronic components, cable sheathing and in the glass of cathode-ray tubes.

Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm
Mercury is widely used metals in the production of electrical and electronic appliances and is concentrated in batteries, switches and thermostats, and fluorescent lamps.

Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
Cadmium is used in electronic equipment, car batteries, and pigments.

Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
While some forms of chromium are non-toxic, Chromium VI can produce toxic effects.

Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): 1000 ppm
These are flame retardants found in electronic and electrical appliances. They have been found in indoor dust and air through evaporation from plastics.

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
These are also flame retardants found in electronic and electrical appliances. Combustion of printed wiring boards release toxic emissions.

RoHS Impacted & Exempted Categories

The RoHS Directive currently applies to products in Categories 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 as per Schedule 1 of the WEEE Directive. Categories 8 and 9 of the RoHS Directive are currently exempted from compliance.

The following product categories are impacted under the RoHS Directive:

 Cat 1. Large household appliances: refrigerators, washers, stoves, air conditioners

 Cat 2. Small household appliances: vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, coffee makers, irons

 Cat 3. Computing & communications equipment: computers, printers, copiers, phones

 Cat 4. Consumer electronics: TVs, DVD players, stereos, video cameras

 Cat 5. Lighting: lamps, lighting fixtures, light bulbs

 Cat 6. Power tools: drills, saws, nail guns, sprayers, lathes, trimmers, blowers

 Cat 7. Toys and sports equipment: videogames, electric trains, treadmills

 Cat 10. Automatic dispensers: vending machines, ATM machines

The following products are currently exempted from RoHS compliance:

 Category 8. Medical devices and equipment

 Category 9. Control and monitoring equipment

 National security use and military equipment

 Large stationary industrial tools

 Certain light bulbs and some batteries

 Spare parts for electronic equipment in the market before July 1, 2006.

California RoHS (SB20) Compliance

California RoHS took effect on January 1, 2007. California SB 20 and SB 50 contain both RoHS and WEEE-like provisions. SB20 applies only to CRT, LCD and plasma screens larger than four inches measured diagonally. SB50 extended coverage to products refurbished by the manufacturer for retail sale.

China RoHS Compliance

On February 28, 2006, China published a law titled "Administration on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products" (ACPEIP). The actual China RoHS Directive took effect from 1 March 2007.

China RoHS has product marking requirements for the six EU RoHS restricted substances for all applicable products. Disclosure can be at the component or ar the sub assembly level, but it has to be in a prescribed format in Chinese as detailed in "Marking for the control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products". China RoHS also used to be referred to as RPCEP (Regulation for Pollution Control of Electronic Products).

Japan RoHS Compliance

Whereas EU RoHS has a defined focus on restricting certain hazardous substances for one specific industry (electrical and electronic equipment), Japan RoHS is more comprehensive. The "Law for the Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources" seeks to establish a sustainable society based on reduction, reuse, and recycling. Construction companies and electric utilities are targeted as well as a wide range of manufacturers.

The law was passed in June 2000, with enforcement beginning April 2001. It amended the Resource Recycling Promotion Law of 1991 which relied upon voluntary initiatives. Japan RoHS also used to be referred to as JGPSSI (Japan Green Procurement Survey Standardization Initiative)

Korea RoHS Compliance

On April 2, 2007, the Act for Resource Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicles was adopted into law by the National Assembly of Korea. Electrical and electronic equipment is defined as equipment or devices operated by electric currents or electromagnetic fields. The definition of vehicles is adopted from Article 2(1) of the Automobile Management Act.

Korea's equivalent of the RoHS and WEEE directives adopts an Eastern approach by including "design for the environment" in its requirements. Implementation is geared toward improvement in product design and recycling technology as they become technically and economically feasible.

Norway RoHS Compliance (PoHS)

Norway intends to prohibit 18 substances from consumer goods under new legislation which is much wider than EU RoHS rules. Of the 18 substances only lead and cadmium are in common with EU RoHS. Called the "Prohibition on Certain Hazardous Substances in Consumer Products" this is referred to as PoHS.

Turkey RoHS Compliance

Turkey announced the implementation of their Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation effective June 2009. The legislation was created by the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry and includes manufacturers and sellers of electronic goods and includes products which are supplied by others under their own brand names.

Manufacturers must keep documentation showing that products they introduce to the market meet the criteria for legislation for 5 years starting from the date the product is released to the market. Manufacturers must also submit a Conformity Declaration Form to the Turkish government every year.