FEBRUARY 24th, 2009 / 4th issue About Lumec

RoHS from the EU to North America


Over the last six months or so, we've been receiving many inquiries regarding the RoHS directive. Reader of this newsletter as well as many clients wanted to know what exactly the RoHS directive is and how it works. Well, we heard you!

RoHS is not a chat acronym although it looks like one. Created because of growing global environmental concerns, RoHS is a directive that stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. It also goes by its formal name: 2002/95/EC. In February 2003, the European Union adopted the directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. It took effect on July 1st 2006 and it is required to be enforced and become law in each member state.

This directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment and is part of a legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amounts of toxic e-waste.

RoHS is often referred to as the lead-free directive, but it restricts the use of the following six substances:

  1. Lead
  2. Mercury
  3. Cadmium
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
The maximum permitted concentrations are 0.1% or 1000 ppm (except for cadmium, which is limited to 0.01% or 100 ppm) by weight of homogeneous material. This means that the limits do not apply to the weight of the finished product, or even to a component, but to any single substance that could (theoretically) be separated mechanically-for example, the sheath on a cable or the tinning on a component lead.

This is not yet law in North America but it is fast becoming a practice that is being adopted by the environmentally responsible forerunners on this side of the pond. Even though RoHS has only been officially adopted by the EU, its logic is undeniable, and its influence is rapidly spreading across the world.

Forward us your comments or questions at: lumec.suggestions@philips.com

In this issue

RoHS from the EU to North America

ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) free area

What does Sustainable Development really mean?

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