Component Sense Blog

What is RoHS and why was it introduced?

What is RoHS and why was it introduced?

Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) was essentially introduced to reduce risks to health and our environment. The main concern for the environment was the effect of contamination from landfill. When we ultimately dispose of our electronic devices to landfill, chemicals seep into the water table poisoning the environment and posing a risk to health.

According to the European Commission:

EU legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC) and promoting the collection and recycling of such equipment (WEEE Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003.

The legislation provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used e-waste free of charge. The objective of these schemes is to increase the recycling and/or re-use of such products. It also requires heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium and flame retardants such as polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) to be substituted by safer alternatives.

In reality, most electronic components did not transition to RoHS compliant until 2005 although many components did already comply by default.

The directives were revised to include Medical Devices and Monitoring and Control equipment. As a result the RoHS Recast Directive (RoHS 2) was published in July 2011.

Guidance produced by the UK Government in 2014 is useful in assisting manufacturers, importers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment to comply with the RoHS Regulations.

At Component Sense we take caring for the environment seriously and clearly declare whether our components are RoHS compliant or not. Some of our stock precedes the legislation and other items are specifically intended for high reliability and military use which are still exempt from RoHS restrictions.

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