RoHS, or Restriction of Hazardous Substances, as the name suggests, is an act that steps forward to restrict the usage of harmful elements and making an impact on the entire electronics industry along with many electrical goods. The act was initiated by the European Union in the year 2002 where it was first named Directive 2002/95/EC. Further, the main aim of this act is to stop the usage of six detrimental elements in the production of electronic products. Thus, since 2006 July, every relevant product being produced in the European market has to clear the RoHS compliance test.
Later, in 2011, a revised version of RoHS was published by the EU and it is known as RoHS- Recast (or RoHS 2). With this, RoHS compliance required to have CE marking directive. Moreover, RoHS 2 added categories 8 & 9 with more record-keeping requirements.
In 2015, EU published directive 2015/863 which was titled as RoHS 3. It extended the requirements by adding four more elements to it making it 10 restricted substances in total. The list is as follows:
Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm
Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm
Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm
Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm
Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm
Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm
Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm
What was the need to introduce such an act?
In the early 20th century, few chemicals were introduced in the production process due to their excellent properties, like radium luminescence and low melting point, which were seen as extremely useful. Nonetheless, what people of that tie did not know was the harm it is going to create in their lives. This resulted in the wastage of years to understand their detrimental impacts on both people as well as the environment. Thus, in 2002, when authorities across the world were searching for a safe measure, the EU introduced legislation in order to reduce the employment of such harmful substances.
Many people believe that there is no immediate impact of the substances listed above. But the truth is, and what experts believe is, that as soon as you are in physical contact with any of these substances, you are taking a risk. This is so because there is no direct negative impact of such substances but their long term exposure is dangerous.
When these substances are used in the manufacturing or recycling processes, they affect negatively as a matter of occupational exposure. Also, when such elements are disposed of after usage, they turn out to be the pollutants for the landfills and, thus, the environment.
The most threatening ones, which are lead, cadmium, mercury, and most brominated plastics, that has more negative impacts than the others. Therefore, even if it is a challenge, every manufacture should embrace it for its and the coming generation’s own good.
Even if it is costly to manufacture products under RoHS compliance, it is still a necessity, especially if you are going to sell it in the EU market. So, be safe and make the environment safer by following such helpful guidelines.