Do REACH and RoHS Compliance Imply Halogen-Free Status?

Q: Is a company able to claim halogen-free status on their products if those products are REACH and RoHS compliant?

A: No. A company can’t claim halogen-free status solely due to REACH or RoHS compliance, and will need to comply with halogen-specific standards, such as IEC 61249-2-21 and JS709C, to make such a claim. The IEC 61249-2-21 standard is used to indicate halogen-free printed circuit boards, while JS709C covers all other aspects of electrical products.

To meet the IEC 61249-2-21 standard, printed boards and their reinforcing matrices may not contain more than a total of 1,500 parts-per-million (ppm) of halogen. This standard limits the use of bromine and chlorine to no more than 900 total ppm of either element. The 1,500 total halogen cap is cumulative/ For example, a printed board containing 800 ppm of bromine and 800 ppm of chlorine would remain under their respective limits, but added together, they exceed the total halogen restriction.

To meet the JS709C definition of low halogen, each material within an electronic product (excluding printed board laminates) must contain less than 1,000 ppm (0.1 percent) by weight of bromine from brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and less than 1,000 ppm by weight of chlorine from chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) congeners and/or PVC block polymers, copolymers or polymer alloys containing PVC. Higher concentrations of bromine or chlorine are permitted in plastics contained within electronic devices as long as they are not flame retardants, PVC or substances containing PVC.

The marking standard J-STD-609B is also occasionally cited with regard to low halogen compliance.


This content is accurate as of June 7, 2019.

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