RoHS of the European Union (EU) is an EU directive restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. On January 27, 2003, the Council of the EU adopted the first version of RoHS directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS 1.0 in short). On July 1, 2011, the EU published a new version of RoHS directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2.0 in short), which came into effect on July 21, 2011.
On June 4, 2015, EU Official Gazette (OJ) released revised RoHS2.0 directive (EU) 2015/863, officially including DEHP, BBP and DBP, DIBP in Appendix II Restricted substance catalogue, and therefore Appendix II now includes a total of 10 (lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), DEHP, BBP DBP, and DIBP) mandatory regulated substances, which came into effect on July 22, 2019.
Besides the EU, most countries in the world have set up similar regulations over electrical and electronic products, the details of which are listed in the following table:
Laws and regulations
2011/65/ EU & (EU) 2015/863
Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP)
Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
United Arab Emirates
UAE RoHS-Restrictions on Hazardous Substances-Resolution 10 of 2017
Ukrainian Decree No. 139
Technical regulations restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
Administrative measures for restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products
Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
H.R. 2420-Electrical Equipment Environmental Design Act
JIS C 0950:2005
Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicle Recycling Act
Electronic Waste Management and Disposal Regulations, 2011
The new EU directive
RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU
European RoHS 2011/65/EU requires 6 items to be tested, and the directive comes into effect as an RoHS directive.
The new European RoHS directive mark
RoHS tests items include lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
Regarding items including HBCDD, BBP, DBP, DEHP, etc., the directive only mentions whether such items shall be regulated in subsequent priority assessments, and does not mandate manufacturers to carry out testing.
The European Parliament and the European Commission published in their Official Gazette on February 13, 2003 the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE Directive in short) and Directive on Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS Directive in short).
According to the RoHS Directive and WEEE Directive, there are 102 types of products in 10 categories that are included in restricted hazardous substances management and scrap recycling management. The first seven product categories are China's major export electrical products. Included in the seven categories are large household appliances, small household appliances, information and communication equipment, consumer products, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys, leisure and sports equipment, medical equipment (except implanted or infected products), monitoring and control devices and vending machines.
On December 3, 2008, the EU issued a proposal to amend the WEEE Directive (2002/96/EC) and the RoHS directive (2002/95/EC). The aim of this proposal was to create a better regulatory environment, i.e., simple, understandable, effective and enforceable regulations. The main contents of the RoHS Directive amendments are as follows:
1. Changed the wording of the law to clarify the scope and definition of the directive;
2. Introduced product CE mark and EC conformity declaration;
3. To include medical devices, control and monitoring devices into the scope of RoHS directive in phases;
There was no change in the six restricted substances, but four substances- hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD), phthalic acid (2-ethylhexyl ester) (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP)-were required for priority assessment to assess if they were to be included in the scope of restricted substances in future.
Scope of RoHS
The scope of RoHS is only applicable to new products marketed from July 1, 2006 onwards.
RoHS includes household incandescent lamps and light sources.
Specific directives or regulations on safety and health requirements should not be violated-Vehicle ELV, the automobile directive; battery directive, 91/157/EEC, 93/86/EEC & 98/101/EC.
RoHS does not include: medical devices or monitoring devices (Cat. 8 & 9 of the WEEE Directive); maintenance spare parts marketed before July 1, 2006; reused products previously marketed prior to July 1, 2006.
Restricted toxic substances:
-Chromium (VI) Hexavalent chromium
Certain brominated flame retardants:
–Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)；
–Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Highest concentration limits:
0.1% (1000ppm) Cadmium: 0.01% (100 ppm);
Lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl ethers: 0.1% (1000 ppm)
Six categories of hazardous substances:
RoHS aims at all electrical and electronic products whose production process and raw materials may contain the above six categories of hazardous substances, mainly including: white home appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, water heaters, etc., black appliances, such as audio and video products, DVD players, CD players, TV receivers, IT products, digital products, telecommunication products, etc.; power tools, electric toys, medical electrical devices.
1. Lead (Pb) Application examples of the substance: solders, glasses, PVC stabilizers
2. Mercury (Hg) Application examples of the substance: temperature controllers, sensors, switches and relays, bulbs
3. Cadmium (Cd) Application examples of the substance: switches, springs, connectors, housing and PCB, contactors, batteries
4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) Application examples of the substance: metal anti-corrosion coating
5. Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) Application examples of the substance: flame retardants,PCB, connectors, plastic housing
6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) Application examples of the substance: flame retardants, PCB, connectors, plastic housing
According to the EU WEEE Directive & RoHS Directive, qualified domestic third-party testing bodies shall dismantle products based on its material and conduct tests on hazardous substances within different materials separately. In general:
For metal materials, four hazardous metal elements are to be tested, such as Cd cadmium/Pb lead/Hg mercury and Cr6+/hexavalent chromium)
For plastic materials, in addition to the four hazardous heavy metal elements, brominated flame retardants (polybrominated biphenyl PBB/polybrominated diphenyl ethers PBDE) shall too be tested
Meanwhile, for different packaging materials, tests shall also be conducted on heavy metals in the packaging materials (94/62/EEC)
The RoHS regulatory limits for six hazardous substances are as follows:
Cadmium, below 100 ppm
Lead: below 1000 ppm
Steel alloy: below 3500 ppm
Aluminum alloy: below 4000 ppm
Copper alloy: 40,000 ppm
Mercury: below 1000 ppm
Hexavalent chromium: below 1000 ppm
Reasons for the introduction of RoHS
Cadmium was first found in cables of game consoles sold in the Netherlands in 2000 when people realized electrical and electronic devices contained heavy metals hazardous to human health. As a matter of fact, soldering tin and printing ink in packing cartons used in the production of electrical and electronic products contain lead and other hazardous heavy metals.
RoHS is applicable to 27 member states of the EU, including France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania.
The applicable scope of the RoHS Directive is electric and electronic products in the catalogue below AC1000V or DC1500V:
1. Large household appliances: refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, air conditioners etc.
2. Small household electrical appliances: vacuum cleaners, irons, hair dryers, ovens, clocks and watches etc.
3. IT and communications equipment: computers, fax machines, telephones, mobile phones etc.
4. Civil devices: radios, televisions, video recorders, musical instruments, etc.
5. Lighting apparatus: fluorescent lamps not used for family use, etc., lighting control devices
6. Power tools: electric drills, lathes, welding machines, sprayers, etc.
7. Toys/entertainment and sports equipment: electric vehicles, TV game players, automatic slot-machines
8. Medical devices: radiotherapy devices, electrocardiogram test instruments and analytical instruments etc.
9. Monitoring/control devices: smoke detectors, incubators, monitoring control machines for factory uses
10. Vending machines
This not only includes whole build of the product, but also spare parts, raw materials and packaging used for whole machine production, which is related to the entire production chain.
1. Fill in the RoHS test application form, which can be collected at the Center or downloaded from the RoHS Certification Center website. The form is to be submitted after completion.
2. After quotation settlement and application submission, the customer sends the sample (or express delivery) to us, and we reasonably dissemble the sample as per the requirements, and send feedback on the product dissemble quantity and testing charges to the customer. Once the customer agrees, the testing charges will be transferred to our designated account (payable in cash too).
3. After we received the payment, we shall arranged tests immediately. Under normal circumstances, the tests shall be completed within one week.
4. The report may be delivered by courier, fax, E-mail or in person.
Significance of the certification
Missing RoHS certification will cause inestimable damage to the manufacturer. Then your products will lose the market share. Even if the products entered the market, it will result in the recall or bear the big penalties, which is riskful for the brand and company.
Many large enterprises have already studied and prepared for RoHS Directive, and many of their products have passed RoHS certification. However, many small and medium-sized enterprises have the limited recoginition.
The products involved are mainly: common household appliances, such as refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, water heaters, etc.; black household appliances, such as audio and video products, DVD players, CD players, TV receivers, IT products, digital products, telecommunication products, etc.; power tools, electric and electronic toys, electrical medical devices, the power used, including small and large household appliances, IT and telecommunications devices and consumer products, such as radios, televisions, video recorders and sound systems.
How does the RoHS Directive work?
The Directive prevents thousands of tons of prohibited substances from being released into the environment and has brought important changes in the design of electrical and electronic products and increased awareness of the composition and toxicity of manufacturers about their products. Other countries, including EU's major trading partners, have followed EU's example and formulated similar legislations. Manufacturers satisfying the RoHS requirements are better prepared to face this global challenge. Relevant national authorities have strengthened their cooperation in identifying and removing non-conforming products from the market. Product trading and market structure, due to their nature and volume, are more likely to cause environmental problems based on their practices.
The commission plans reform the directive as part of an overall commitment to a better regulatory environment. The reform involves improvements of implementation, enforcement and consistency. The RoHS directive also needs to be reviewed, particularly with regard to medical devices and monitoring and control devices in its scope, and to restrict the applicability of the substance catalogue. In the first year of experience and implementation, upon extensive stakeholder consultations, the reform revealed difficulties in determining whether certain products fell within the scope. There were too many variations of non-conforming products and member states, such as implementation related issues, ways of carrying out product compliance assessments and conducting market supervisions. There was too a potential correlation between RoHS and chemicals covered by new policies and legislations, such as increased risk of insufficient or inefficient directive execution.
Some large enterprise have noticed RoHS and started to take countermeasures. For example, SONY has stated on the box of its digital cameras that the product is lead-free welded and printed with lead-free ink.
In 2004, Ministry of Information Industry also issued Measures for the Prevention and Control of Pollution of Electronic Information Products, which is similar to RoHS. In October, the Pollution Prevention and Control Standards of Electronic Information Products Workgroup was established, which aimed at studying and establishing a standard system of pollution prevention and control of electronic information products in line with China's national conditions; conducting research and revision of standards related to the prevention and control of pollution caused by electronic information products, in particular to accelerate formulating basic standards for materials, processes, terminology, test methods and examination methods urgently needed by the industry.
On July 1, 2011, the EU issued a new RoHS directive, Directive 2011/65/EU, in the Official Gazette (OJ). As a directive very familiar to Chinese electrical and electronic products manufacturers, the issuing of the directive is full of twists and turns. The amendment, which was supposed to be introduced in 2009, had been perpetually delayed by disagreements over the process. In particular, there have been heated debates within the EU, including the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Council, the industry and NGOs, on whether to expand the scope of products and restricted substances.
The main differences between 2011/65/EU and the original RoHS Directive 2002/95/EU are as follows:
1. The scope of products are expanded: all electrical and electronic products are included within the scope of the Directive (including cables and spare parts), while providing the newly added Cat. 8 medical devices and Cat. 9 monitoring and control devices (including industrial monitoring devices) a certain transition period as well as 20 exemptions (listed in Annex IV)
2. Certain definitions are clarified
3. The scope of restricted substance is not expanded, maintaining the limit requirements of the original six types of substances. However, the amendment also points out that in future review processes, substances including DEHP etc. shall be given priority, paving ways for expanding scope of restricted substances in the future.
4. Deletes the producer rules, and adds definitions of manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, and distributor, and also includes a clear definition of the responsibility of the above parties
5. Stipulates matters regarding needs for CE marking and CE mark on products.
This Directive will be effective on the 20th day of its release on OJ and member states have until January 2, 2013 to convert it into respective national laws.
The 2011/65/EU release will have a certain impact on China’s manufacturing enterprises of electrical and electronic products, especially in view of the inclusion of medical devices and monitoring and control devices into the scope of regulation, which will have a huge impact on these two types of manufacturers.
In addition, since the electrical and electronic products need to be attached with the CE mark, therefore, to comply with the requirements of this Directive has become a big challenge.
Categories of newly added products in RoHS 2.0
On November 30, 2011, the European Commission announced that it had begun work on the results of the impact assessment study for the 2011/65/EU directive (RoHS 2.0 Directive). The European Commission plans to expand the scope of the RoHS 2.0 Directive by research, in order to include products and product categories previously excluded from the RoHS 1.0 Directive and come out with new proposals accordingly. According to the new studies, the scope of products included in Annex 1.0 of the new directive will be expanded and may be further expanded through future research and public consultation. However, the draft product scope released by the Commission thus far has included products of great concern to exporters.
Category 1: Large household appliances. It includes new product categories gas grills, gas ovens and gas heaters.
Category 4: Consumer electronics. It includes new product categories such as electrical functional furniture, such as reclining beds and reclining chair.
Category 7: Toys, leisure and sports equipment. It includes new product categories such as toys with smaller electrical functions, such as talking teddy bears and shoes that glow.
Category 11: Other electrical and electronic devices. In addition to power switches and power suitcases, new product categories include electrically functional clothing such as heating clothing and lifejackets that glow in water.
The impact assessment study also includes an analysis of how to make hazardous substance concentration limits compliant with the RoHS Directive more feasible. There have been concerns about overly strict thresholds for restricted substances, especially when applied to paints and tiny components.
As part of the study, the Commission is consulting stakeholders on the costs of complying with the Directive, such as the cost of changing product design and data to help assess the benefits of lowering the concentration of hazardous substances in products. The consultation period runs until April 2012, with a final report (including revised impact assessment) to be issued by July 6, 2012.