Examining the Costs of and Exemptions to the RoHS Directive

The Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive in Electrical and Electronic Equipment is a set of regulations drafted in 2003 by the European Economic Union (EEU) which affects manufacturers, sellers, distributors and recyclers of electrical and electronic equipment containing certain amounts of:

  • lead
  • mercury
  • cadmium
  • hexavalent chromium
  • polybrominated  biphenyls (PBBs)
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) 

In order to market products in the European Union (EU), manufacturers need to ensure that their products and product components comply with the requirements of the Regulations by July, 2006. Manufacturers are responsible for the associated RoHS costs to their companies.

The purpose of the RoHS Directive is to implement the provisions of the European Parliament in order to protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in new equipment and complement the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2002/96/EC).

As of July, 2006, a producer may not put new EEE, falling into any of the categories below, containing more than the permitted levels of the previously listed substances on the market in the EU. These product categories include:

  • household appliances
  • IT and telecommunication equipment
  • consumer equipment
  • lighting equipment
  • electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large – scale stationary industrial tools)
  • toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • automatic dispensers

There are certain RoHS exemptions for various applications listed in the regulations documentation. For example, spare parts used for the repair of equipment put on the market before July, 2006 fall under the RoHS exemptions. Note that, although the RoHS Directive has been published, it does not come into force until July, 2006.

Under the requirements of the RoHS Directive, producers must be able to demonstrate compliance by submitting technical or other information to the enforcing authority on request. They must retain such documentation for four years after the EEE is placed on the market. Documentation as well as proper labelling of RoHS compliant products are just two of the RoHS costs producers will face under the new regulations.

The EU Secretary of State has the duty of enforcing the RoHS Directive and allowing for RoHS exemptions. The Secretary may also appoint a third party to act on his behalf. The enforcement powers include a power to serve a compliance notice and make test purchases. Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of the Regulations will be guilty of an offence and offenders will have to pay a penalty, which serves as one of the potentially significant RoHS costs.

Further Information
ROHS Directive
Latest Government Information
The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2005 No. 2748 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2005/20052748.htm

NovAtel designs, markets and sells high-precision GPS and other positioning components and sub-systems used in a wide variety of commercial applications principally in the aviation, geomatics (surveying and mapping), mining, precision agriculture, marine and defence industries. NovAtel is also the principal supplier of reference receivers to national aviation ground networks in the US, Japan, Europe, China and India. NovAtel's solutions combine hardware, such as receivers and antennas, with software to enable its customers to fully integrate the Company's high-precision GPS technology into their respective products and systems. NovAtel, an ISO 9001 certified company, is focused on supplying core high-precision positioning technology to OEMs and system integrators who build systems for various end market applications. For more information, visit www.novatel.com.

RoHS Directive • RoHS Costs • RoHS Exemptions

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