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The Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and Your Business

Compliance with RoHS (Directive 2011/65/EU) requires not only certifying material substance content; but also certifying that quality control procedures and technical documentation are in place to ensure compliance for every unit manufactured.

Need background?

Click here for basic information about RoHS:

  • Requirements

  • Risks (Business, market, competitor, legal)

  • Solutions

Looking for Updates and Alerts? August 2015: 3 recent items of interest


What Happened

A mid-tier supplier called about RSJ’s RoHS-compliance services, because he was getting increased pressure from several customers for RoHS-related information. The supplier did not understand the substantial differences between the requirements in the original RoHS directive that was enacted in 2003 and took effect in 2006 and the requirements in the RoHS Recast (commonly referred to as RoHS2) that was enacted in 2011.

What Impact It Might Have

Over time, this supplier might very well lose contracts from customers who place products on the EU market. Even if the suppliers’ direct customers do not place products on the EU market, the customers are very likely part of a chain of companies that supply materials, components or assembles to an OEM who does place products on the EU market. Ultimately, the requirement for substance data, technical data and other RoHS2 requirements will filter down to the supplier who called RSJ, as well as to all suppliers throughout the supply chain. If any supplier does not meet these requirements, it will very likely have existing contracts cancelled and/or will lose out on future contracts.

RoHS is here to stay. Enforcement activities are maturing. Customers have less patience with the inability of their suppliers to provide RoHS-related documentation and the risk of financial loss because of it.

What We Recommend

Carefully read the RoHS2 requirements on the RoHS Overview page.  Make sure you understand them. If you do not, seek legal or third-party assistance, before your lack of understanding results in your loss of business. Similarly, make sure your direct suppliers understand those requirements as well.


What Happened

Given that RoHS2 was officially enacted in 2011, many 5-year exemptions will expire in 2016.

Background: RoHS2 sets a 5-year limit for most exemptions that were originally enacted without an expiration date. The exception: exemptions for RoHS “Category 8: Medical Equipment” and “Category 9: Monitoring and Control Equipment” have a 7-year limit.

What Impact It Might Have

Because applications to extend RoHS2 exemptions must be filed no later than 18 months before the expiration date, it is already too late to apply for an extension for your application – unless another company has done so. Therefore, if you are currently using a RoHS exemption in a particular application…have not applied to extend it…and no other company has applied to extend that exemption…you must legally discontinue using the exempt application in the very near future.

What We Recommend

Consult with your design engineers or other appropriate staff to determine 1) what, if any, RoHS exemptions you rely on for compliance in your products; 2) whether any of those exemptions are expiring; and, 3) if they are expiring, what alternative substances are available. Acting quickly may help you to reduce the potentially high costs of testing and re-qualifying materials, as well as the potentially greater cost of losing customers because you can no longer supply RoHS-compliant parts


What Happened

In May 2015, the European Parliament did something it rarely does: it rejected a European Commission Decision to renew RoHS exemption 39: the use of cadmium in quantum dot technology for lighting and displays.

What Impact It Might Have

The exact reasoning behind Parliament’s rejection are complicated. However, if your company has relied on RoHS exemption 39, the implications are clear - you are in limbo as to whether or not you can rely on exemption 39 in the future.

What We Recommend

Pay close attention to RoHS exemptions, if your products are within the scope of RoHS. If you are blindsided by any EU decisions or non-decisions, it will likely be expensive. Also, if you apply for a new exemption – or to extend an ongoing one – remember that the bottom line basis for granting or extending an exemption will be the technical merits that you make in your application.