Future Extensions of RoHS Exception 6c (Lead in Copper Alloys)

Question: Last year, Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive Exemption 6c, which allows for the use of lead up to 4 percent weight by weight (w/w) in copper alloy, was extended until July 2021. What is the likelihood of future extensions?

Valerie Kuntz: In 2015, a significant number of contributors requested an extension to Exemption 6c and, as no alternative substance has been developed to replace the use of lead in copper alloys for added strength and corrosion resistance, it is likely a similar number will continue to submit extension requests. If the expected requests materialize, the exemption will be extended until such time that the European Commission can make a decision.

Although Exemption 6c was only extended for two years, it was based on five-year guidance for Categories 1–7, 10 and 11, as noted in the EU RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU Article 5(2). This requires requests be submitted a minimum of 18 months prior to the expiration date. Requests for extension beyond July 2021 must be filed by January 2020.

This content is accurate as of May 10, 2019.

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