What is the EU RoHS Directive?
The EU RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 January 2003 outlines the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
EU RoHS refers to the original RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC and Directive 2011/65/EU (8 June 2011), which replaced the original RoHS Directive as of January 1, 2013. You will also see EU RoHS 2 referring to the RoHS Recast. The RoHS Recast contains the same principal restrictions and requirements as the past RoHS directive.
As a supplier or manufacturer receiving a request from Assent, the most pertinent aspects of RoHS are that it applies to EEE3 and engenders a ban of the use of 10 substances past the applicable threshold (or maximum concentration value – MCV). There are timelines of applicability associated to certain categories of EEE and there are certain EEE considered out of scope.
There are several other requirements under RoHS that may apply to you, please contact Assent if you would like further assistance with RoHS compliance. For more information on the RoHS Directive, click here.
What substances are included in RoHS?
There are ten substances that each have a threshold based on weight.
Substance RoHS Limit: MCV – Maximum Concentration Values:
- Lead (Pb) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Mercury (Hg) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Cadmium (Cd) < 0.01% = < 100 PPM
- Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Bis(2ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
- Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) < 0.10% = < 1,000 PPM
What is EU RoHS 2? How does it differ from RoHS?
EU RoHS 2 (the RoHS Recast) replaced RoHS in January of 2013. The same 6 substances are dealt with in both directives however there are a number of additional compliance requirements that arose in the recast. Below is a high-level summary of those additions:
- EU RoHS 2 now falls under the CE Mark
- Associated labelling and documentation requirements
- Exemptions are expiring
- Any exemptions being used must be disclosed
- New substances can be added
What is the EU/2015/863 Directive (sometimes incorrectly referred to as RoHS 3)? How does it differ from EU RoHS 2?
RoHS Directive (EU) 2015/863 amends the recast Directive 2011/65/EU (also known as EU RoHS 2) to add four substances to the original six restricted substances. These Directives are intended to help protect the environment and consumers from known hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The substances and restriction thresholds covered under these directives are:
Original 6 substances (2011/65/EU):
- Lead(Pb) : 0.1%
- Mercury: 0.1%
- Cadmium(Cd): 0.01%
- Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) : 0.1%
- Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): 0.1 %
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): 0.1 %
Additional 4 substances ((EU) 2015/863):
- Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): max 0.1%
- Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): max 0.1%)
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): max 0.1%
- Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): max 0.1%
The restriction on the additional four substances went into effect July 22, 2019 for all electrical and electronic equipment other than categories 8 and 9. Categories 8 and 9 restrictions will go into effect July 22, 2021.
What does this mean to me as a non-European manufacturer?
Although this directive is European based, it requires that all companies that import into the EU adhere to them. While this may not affect your sales directly, it is important to note that if you are receiving requests from Assent, it affect the sales of your client base. As such it is important to have information available to your customers should they request it.
How can I go about confirming compliance with EU RoHS?
Manufacturers can run their own quality assurance divisions to verify that none of their products contain the EU RoHS restricted substances. Alternatively, manufacturers may also use third party companies such as Assent to survey suppliers that make the parts/components that to into your products. Additionally, testing can also be done to verify the substance breakdown of the products you sell.
What are Exemptions and why are they important?
The RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) allows certain exemptions under Annex III and Annex IV for the use of the restricted substances in particular components and/or specific product applications. Exemptions to RoHS are granted to narrowly-defined applications for which the elimination of the prohibited substance is technically or scientifically impracticable or when the only available substitution produces more negative than positive benefits to the environment, health, or consumer safety. These exemptions are granted for specific substances used in specific applications.
Suppliers cannot assume that the exemptions automatically apply to their components, parts, materials, or products and are encouraged to request approval for use of any required RoHS exemptions via their Supply Chain representative. Improperly applying an exemption could be termed as a non-compliance leading to enforcement action and/or your disqualification as a supplier.
Exemptions are temporary in nature and, under the RoHS recast, are subject to review at least every four years, until a reliable and safe substitution is available. For this reason, many exemptions carry an expiration date. You can see the full Exemptions list here.
How can I declare myself as compliant with RoHS?
Under the EU RoHS Directive, manufacturers of finished products must declare compliance via:
- CE mark
- Declaration of Compliance fulfilling the required elements listed in Annex II of the RoHS recast
- CE Technical File
Documentation requirements are found in Module A of Annex II of Decision 768/2008/EC.
For unfinished products (components and parts), the majority of manufacturers have chosen to use declarations to confirm compliance with the RoHS recast. Although some manufacturers choose to provide chemical breakdowns (Full Material Disclosures or FMDs) of their products instead. This is entirely up to the manufacturer in deciding how this information is communicated to their clients.