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.