ROHS Certification

ROHS Certification

What is the exact meaning of the term ?

The acronym ‘ROHS’ stands for Restriction Of Hazardous Substances. In other words, this is a certification showing that a certain product has been manufactured following rules and regulations that restrict or ban hazardous materials from being used during its production and that it’s free from any of the substances listed in the ROHS directive.

What kind of items might need this certification?

Almost all products on today’s market can be subject to ‘ROHS’. The most common ones are electronic devices as well as home appliances such as washing machines, air conditioners or microwaves. Some other examples that frequently need the ROHS certification are:

  • plastic goods (like toys and various household items);
  • car parts, tools and machines;
  • batteries;
  • light bulbs;
  • paints.

Furthermore, any product containing more than 0.01% lead or more than 0.1% mercury can also be subject to ROHS.

What is the directive about?

The main goal of the ‘Restriction Of Hazardous Substances’ (ROHS) Directive is to reduce or eliminate the hazardous, and in some cases illegal, materials that are used during production of certain products on today’s market. The list of banned substances includes lead, mercury, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

The ROHS Directive became law in the EU on the 27th of July 2011. It applies to eight categories of products with different deadlines for compliance according to their classification. The four main product groups are Electronics, Electrical Equipment, Machinery and Toys.

In the USA also the RoHS directive started with a law from 2011 that applied to industrial facilities only. In 2015 a much stricter legally binding regulation was introduced that applies to all products imported into or manufactured in the United States including electronic devices and industrial equipment. The main goal of this stricter regulation is to protect the environment and to grant US consumers a healthier and safer working environment.

Why ROHS Certification Directive?

The ‘Restriction Of Hazardous Substances’ (ROHS) Directive was introduced due to concerns over hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium, PBB and PBDE. These substances might cause health problems for consumers due to their toxicity, flammability or corrosiveness.

One of the main targets is to eliminate some of these hazardous materials from electronic equipment because they are frequently used in many electrical items on today’s market. This includes home appliances such as washing machines, kitchen ovens, air conditioners and microwaves but also components of electronic devices such as TV sets or desktop computers. The Directive is applicable to almost all items that can be found in the household environment and also covers some other areas, e.g. toys, car parts and tools.

Main requirements of ROHS directives

  • There are four major requirements of the ‘Restriction Of Hazardous Substances’ (ROHS) Directive:
  • the use of lead, mercury and cadmium is prohibited;
  • the use of PBBs and PBDEs is limited to a maximum level of 0.1%;
  • general duty to manufacture products that are free from other hazardous substances listed without exceptions or restrictions.
  • are handled in a way that minimizes the release into the environment.

What are these hazardous materials?

‘Lead’, ‘mercury’ and ‘cadmium’ are three of several substances that should be excluded from any product placed on today’s market. These metals, as well as some other dangerous chemicals, have been linked to a range of health hazards such as cancer or fertility problems. There are also concerns that they can cause harm to unborn children due to possible exposure of the mother during pregnancy.

The usage of ‘PBB’ and ‘PBDE’ is limited to a maximum level of 0.1%. These flame retardants have been linked with negative effects on humans as well as on wildlife and the environment.

Requirements for companies

The main obligation for producers of products that are subject to the ‘Restriction Of Hazardous Substances’ (ROHS) Directive is to manufacture them in a way that reduces any possible negative impact on human health and the environment. All substances contained within these products should be handled according to local laws and should not be released into the air, earth or water.

Products that are covered by this directive should be marked with various labels that indicate how they were manufactured. A regular ‘CE-‘ label is not enough because it only means that the product complies with European Union standards but doesn’t say anything about its hazardous materials or environmental impact. The ‘ROHS-compliant’ label will usually consist of four elements:

  • the initials: ROHS;
  • a symbol for each of the restricted substances;
  • a number showing the level to which these materials comply with the Directive;
  • a manufacturer’s mark.

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This Includes

  • Manufacturers

  • Retailers

  • Brand Managers

  • Traders and Distributors

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