Anti-pollution regulations require tracking and tracing for all Electronic Equipment.
Ensure you and your customers stay compliant.
What is RoHS
RoHS is the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, (EEE).
The Office for Product Safety’s role
The Office for Product Safety and Standards is responsible for enforcing the RoHS directive of the European Union.
As regulators we are required to consider economic growth with regards to those we businesses we regulate and to act proportionately. We also maintain an ‘on line’ enquiry channel for questions relating to the regulations we enforce. This can be found at – https://www.rohs.bis.gov.uk/enquiry/.
It is very important that a regulation avoids placing an unnecessary economic burden on industry, or on a specific business, hence why we strive to maintain a level playing field with all our enforcement activities. No one can be allowed to obtain a commercial advantage by not complying with regulation and the burden of regulation.
The RoHS enforcement team have confidence that the RoHS regulations are well thought out and will have a lasting effect on the health of future generations. We are dedicated to ensuring every level of industry complies with these regulatory obligations.
The directive 2011/65/EU was brought into UK law in 2012, and specifically targets growing pollution levels arising from ever increasing volumes of electronics discarded into land fill each year.
The regulations restrict several harmful substances, specifically lead, mercury and cadmium from being used in all electronic equipment sold on the market in the EU. As well as restricting the commonly used anti-corrosion coating ‘hexavalent chrome’, it also targets several flame-retardant additives that are known to be cacogenic, with four more similar plasticisers being added to the list in 2019.
The substances restricted under RoHS are all performance enhancers in one way or another, as the replacement or safer alternative substances either slow the manufacturing process or do not perform as well in other aspects. The RoHS regulation serves to maintain a constant pressure on electronic manufacturers forcing them to develop safer alternative substances that perform to a suitable standard.
Just think of the electrical equipment your parents had when you were young, and where they would take it to have it repaired, and how often they threw such equipment away. Then compare that to the number of electronic equipment / gadgets you and your family discard these days without repairing; such as, mobile telephones etc. We are drowning in waste consumer electronics, and it’s all going into landfill. It is a surprisingly short route from landfill, through the water table, to new grass, to grazing livestock, to the dining table and into our own bodies.
Manufacturers & Importers
The RoHS regulations are one of the EU harmonised standards, this means that they are in harmony with several other EU standards that all place a similar coordinated obligation on economic operators. They require a manufacturer or an importer to produce or obtain standardised certification that then entitles a CE mark to be placed on a product. The CE mark thus confirming adherence to all EU regulations relevant for that specific product. Other common obligations placed on manufacturers under the regulations include product risk assessment, material batch testing, performance and compliance testing and conformance certification.
Obligations that are common place in, for example the energy sector, are often new to the consumer electronics industry, and in the case of RoHS the objective is not ‘fit for purpose’ or a ‘quality product’ but is ‘anti-pollution’.
The scope of the RoHS regulations is vast. Few products can claim no electrical component.
What this means for the Measurement and Testing Industry
The Measurement and Testing Industry may be professional customers of EEE products, or of EEE components, customers who already have a knowledge and experience of similar obligations from their industry.
By ensuring that EEE purchasing procedures insist on correct certification being presented by importers and by requesting component manufacturers provide Declarations of Conformity and CE marks, you can help play your part and help future generations.