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As the amount of waste from electrical and electronic components, equipment, and tools increases, standards for the determination of hazardous substances contained in these products become even more important.
RoHS is often referred to as the “lead-free directive,” but it restricts the use of the following ten substances:

  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
  7. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

RoHS 1

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The RoHS 1 directive took effect on 1 July 2006, and is required to be enforced and became a law in each member state.This directive restricts (with exceptions) the use of ten hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) 2002/96/ECwhich sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of a legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amounts of toxic electronic waste.
The directive applies to equipment as defined by a section of the WEEE directive. The following numeric categories apply:

  • Large household appliances
  • Small household appliances
  • IT & telecommunications equipment (although infrastructure equipment is exempt in some countries)
  • Consumer equipment
  • Lighting equipment – including light bulbs
  • Electronic and electrical tools
  • Toys, leisure, and sports equipment
  • Medical devices (exemption removed in July 2011)
  • Monitoring and control instruments (exemption removed in July 2011)
  • Automatic dispensers
  • Semiconductor devices

RoHS 2

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The RoHS 2 directive (2011/65/EU) is an evolution of the original directive and became law on 21 July 2011 and took effect on 2 January 2013. It addresses the same substances as the original directive while improving regulatory conditions and legal clarity. It requires periodic re-evaluations that facilitate gradual broadening of its requirements to cover additional electronic and electrical equipment, cables and spare parts.

2015/863 (RoHS 2 amendment) Add four additional substances are

  1. Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  2. Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  3. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  4. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
  5. The maximum permitted concentrations in non-exempt products are 0.1%.

RoHS 3

RoHS compliance can be misleading because RoHS3 (EU) allows exemptions, ex. up to 85% lead content for high-temperature soldering alloys. Good developers (and users) should carefully validate the product info to make sure they get the exact material safety expected. Industry Examples:

  • RoHS3 compliant without exemptions
  • RoHS3 compliant with all applicable exemptions
  • RoHS3 compliant with exemption 7a
  • RoHS3 compliant, lead-free
  • RoHS3 compliant, green (where the term green is a company-specific standard, ex. lead-free and halogen-free)
  • RoHS3 compliant with exemptions, lead-free finish
  • Ideal: RoHS3 compliant without exemptions

Good Minimum Standard: RoHS3 compliant with exemption for lead-content on internal-only material (to help prevent lead-exposure on touch, lead-leakage in water)

Benefits of RoHS

  1. RoHS helps reduce damage to people and the environment in third-world countries where much of today’s “high-tech waste” ends up. The use of lead-free solders and components reduces risks to electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations. Contact with solder paste no longer represents the same health hazard as it used to.
  2. Although lead containing solder cannot be completely eliminated from all applications today, AMD engineers have developed effective technical solutions to reduce lead content in microprocessors and chipsets to ensure RoHS compliance while minimizing costs and maintaining product features. There is no change to fit, functional, electrical or performance specifications. Quality and reliability standards for RoHS compliant products are expected to be identical compared to current packages.
  3. RoHS and other efforts to reduce hazardous materials in electronics are motivated in part to address the global issue of consumer electronics waste. As newer technology arrives at an ever-increasing rate, consumers are discarding their obsolete products sooner than ever. This waste ends up in landfills and in countries like China to be “recycled.”

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