What is RoHS?

RoHS stands for the “Restriction On the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment”. It is a European Directive aiming to control the use of certain hazardous substances in the production of new electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).
It is a partner directive to the WEEE Directive (Waste in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) that controls the disposal and recycling of EEE. In the UK the RoHS Directive is implemented through the RoHS Regulations (Statutory Instrument SI2008 No. 37).

Who does it apply to?

The UK RoHS regulations apply to those businesses defi ned as producers that:

  • manufacture or assemble electrical or electronic equipment in the UK
  • import electrical or electronic equipment from outside Europe
  • re-badge electronic products as their own. The RoHS Directive applies to products placed on the European market and each member
  • state has its own legislation.

Who does it not apply to?

RoHS does not apply to:

  • Private individuals making purchases from abroad
  • Retailers and other businesses whom only source product from within the UK or Europe because the fi rst importer into the European market is the responsible person.

What are the obligations?

The RoHS Regulations place the following requirements upon producers:

  • Product placed on the market must not contain the hazardous substances above the maximum concentration values
  • Producers must prepare documentation to show that their products are compliant before placing them on the market
  • If requested, the above documentation must be provided to the RoHS Enforcement.

Authority within 28 days of the request the documentation must continue to be maintained for 4 years after the producer stops placing the product on the market.

What are the hazardous substances that are restricted?

RoHS restricts the use of mercury, lead, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and a range of fl ame retardants notably polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. There are a number of exemptions for the use of the hazardous substances for specific technical uses where alternatives do not presently exist. There are also permissible maximum concentration values which allow for any trace presence.

Other useful links:

The National Measurement Office (NMO), UK - RoHS Website

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) are the policy lead for RoHS in the UK: www.berr.gov.uk/sectors/sustainability

The European Commission has a website overing EU developments: