Frequently Asked Questions

RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances and is also known as Directive 2002/95/EC.  The legislation 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 sold after July 1, 2006 must pass RoHS compliance or they can be re-called and removed from shelves.

The substances banned under RoHS are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), and four different phthalates (DEHP, BBP, BBP, DIBP). All substances are restricted at 1000 ppm per homogenous material except for cadmium, which is restricted at 100 ppm.

DEHP, BBP, DBP and DIBP will be restricted from 22 July 2019 except for  medical devices and monitoring and control equipment, which will have until 22 July 2021 to comply.

In 2015, the EU commission published the new Commission Delegated Directive (EU) 2015/863 to add the following 4 phthalates onto the list of restricted substances.

  • Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  • Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

Any business that sells electronic products, sub-assemblies, or components directly to EU countries, or sells to resellers and distributors that sell products to EU countries, is affected.

X-ray fluorescence, otherwise known as XRF metal analyzers, are used for screening products to test for the presence of the hazardous chemicals restricted under RoHS.

RoHS 2, or the Recast RoHS 2 Directive 2011/65/EU, was published in July 2011 by the European Commission. RoHS 2 expanded the original scope of RoHS to cover all electrical/electronic equipment, cables, and spare parts with compliance required by July 22, 2019 or sooner depending on product category.

RoHS 3 is the informal, but commonly accepted term for Commission Delegated Directive 2015/863. It was published in 2015 by the EU and added four additional restricted substances (phthalates DEHP, BBP, BBP, DIBP) to the original and expanded list.

The RoHS 6 refers to the original 6 substances that RoHS regulated: lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

While packaging is generally out of scope of RoHS, there are certain circumstances where it is in scope (for instance, if it is meant to stay with the product for the life of the product). Packaging is handled in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, which restricts lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI) at 100 ppm combined. Since there is so much overlap, it typically makes sense to test the product and its packaging at the same time.

No. Batteries are instead covered by the regulation EU Battery Directive (2006/66/EC).

China RoHS (also known as Administrative Measure on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products) is a Chinese government regulation that requires companies to report on the presence of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDs) in electrical and electronic products upon importation.

China RoHS applies to all “Electronic Information Products” (EIP) that are available for sale in the Chinese marketplace. This includes products imported into China for sale in China and products manufactured in China and sold in China. It excludes products imported into China for re-export or the manufacturing of products for export out of China.

Proposition 65, officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, was enacted in November 1986. It was originally focused on protecting the state’s drinking water sources from being contaminated with chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, but Proposition 65 now applies to any situation where a business exposes an individual to a substance that is known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The law requires businesses to inform Californians about exposures to such chemicals with specific warnings.

The state of California maintains and updates a list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.

You can search for the chemicals listed under Proposition 65 at the government of California’s official website: https://oehha.ca.gov/proposition-65/chemicals

The Waste Framework Directive Database (WFDD) is the new REACH SVHC database that goes into effect January 2021. It is mandatory that any product that requires a REACH SVHC declaration (contains a REACH SVHC over 0.1% w/w in any component) must be registered, while it is optional for those that do not require a declaration. 

The process will largely be the same whether you are registering a single component or a complex product. Some general information will be required about the company registering and the product’s materials. Any applicable safe use information will also have to be included and there will be the option to enter a custom warning.  

For example, let’s consider a complex product such as a fridge. The main product registration will be for the fridge unit. There will then be a breakdown for each article within the fridge that contains an SVHC.  Articles that do not contain SVHCs will not need to be included. From this point onwards, the process will be similar to the single component only this time there are likely more components to include. Let’s imagine that our fridge has the same brass insert plus a silicone ring. We enter the same information for the brass insert. Then, we identify [plastic]-[thermoset plastic]-[silicone] and the SVHC [D6]-[0.1-0.2%].

“Conflict minerals” currently include the minerals (and their derivatives) tantalum (columbite-tantalite), tin (cassiterite), tungsten (wolframite), and gold. These minerals are often referred to as 3TG. They are deemed “conflict minerals” due to their abundance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the nine adjoining countries (Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Uganda, and Zambia) where they have historically benefited and financed multiple armed groups .

Section 1502 of the U.S. law known as the “Dodd-Frank Act” includes a requirement that companies using conflict minerals in their products make efforts to determine if those materials came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or an adjoining country. If so, they are to carry out a due diligence review of their supply chain to determine whether their mineral purchases are financing or benefiting the armed groups in the DRC.  The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued the final rule implementing Section 1502 in August 2012.  The rule requires publicly traded companies to report publicly on their due diligence process and results.

An ‘ethical supply chain’, or ethical sourcing, generally refers to ensuring the supply chain prioritizes human rights, child labour, environmental impacts, and health and safety practices. Other issues that are often monitored closely are corruption at the supplier and country of operation level, gender and race equality, sanctions considerations, and transparency.  

Notwithstanding that it’s the right thing to do to treat people fairly and to respect the environment, here are the two risks that come from not having an ethical supply chain: risk to company reputation and risk to company financials. If a company, for example, becomes involved in a human rights scandal due to their supply chain (say it is revealed that one of the factories the company sources from is using child labour), this will hurt the company’s reputation. Now more than ever, consumers are interested in supporting companies that align with their values, and supporting child labour is something no person wants to do. This scandal would also have a significant impact the company’s bottom line. They could expect to see a drop in sales as well as a drop in investor confidence, if it is a publicly traded company.