Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)
RoHS, also known as Lead-Free, stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. RoHS, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, originated in the European Union and restricts the use of six hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. All applicable products in the EU market after July 1, 2006 must pass RoHS compliance. RoHS impacts the entire electronics industry and many electrical products as well.
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Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive
The European Union (EU) RoHS Directive significantly impacted the electronics industry with the required removal of four heavy metals and two flame retardants - lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). All electronic products manufactured or sold in the EU must comply with the RoHS Directive.
Why is RoHS compliance important?
The restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and pollute landfills, and are dangerous in terms of occupational exposure during manufacturing and recycling.
RoHS in the US
The US electronic interconnection industry, represented by the IPC, uses less than 2% of the world's annual lead consumption. Furthermore, all available scientific evidence and US government reports indicate that the lead used in US printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing and electronic assembly produces no significant environmental or health hazards. Nonetheless, in the opinion of IPC, the pressure to eliminate lead in electronic interconnections will continue in the future from both the legislative and competitive sides. IPC encourages and supports research and development of lead free materials and technologies. These new technologies should provide product integrity, performance and reliability equivalent to lead-containing products without introducing new environmental risks or health hazards. IPC prefers global rather than regional solutions to this issue, and is encouraging a coordinated approach to the voluntary reduction or elimination of lead by the electronic interconnection industry.