The Restriction of Hazardous Substances or RoHS Directive in the EU restricts the use of toxic materials in the manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment. In conjunction with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive its aim is to tackle the problem of toxic waste ending up in landfill sites.

RoHS covers six substances - lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and flame retardants polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

The maximum permitted level of these substances is 0.01% for cadmium and 0.1% for the other five. This is by weight of homogenous material. These % are not the weight of the whole product but by individual homogeneous material.

Since 2006 the RoHS Directive has covered the six substances mentioned here but a further four phthalates that help make plastics softer will enter into force from 2019. The updated RoHS2 Directive which came in to force in January 2013 required RoHS2 compliance to be included in a Declaration of Conformity and be covered by the CE mark.

The European Commission published an excellent Frequently asked Question document which is attached.

In Vitro Medical devices fall into scope from July 2016 and professional monitoring and control instruments from July 2017 although the commission has yet to decide on the definition for professional.

2019 see’s the RoHS open scope introduced for applicable products made available from July.

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