The substances banned under RoHS are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromiumpolybrominated biphenyls (CrVI), (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). These restricted materials are hazardous to the environment and are dangerous to people during manufacturing and recycling.

The maximum concentration levels allowable for these substances in the “homogenous materials” of electrical and electronic equipment for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls , and polybrominated diphenyl ethers is 0.1 percent by weight, and 0.01 percent by weight for cadmium.

Homogenous material is defined as material that cannot be “mechanically disjointed” into different materials. This means materials that cannot be separated into other materials by mechanical methods such as unscrewing, cutting, crushing, grinding or abrasive processes.

X-ray fluorescence or XRF metal analyzers, are today being used for screening and verification of RoHS compliance. Other laboratory equipments used to quantify the restricted substances in materials are Inductively Coupled Plasma and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry.

RoHS, also known as Directive 2002/95/ , restricts the use of the specific hazardous materials in all applicable products in the EU market after July 1, 2006.

RoHS requires companies who place electronic or electrical goods on the market after 1 July 2006 to ensure that they do not contain above the permitted levels of the six specified hazardous substances. Any business that sells applicable electronic products, sub-assemblies or components directly to EU countries, or sells to resellers, distributors or integrators that in turn sell products to EU countries, is impacted if they utilize any of the restricted materials.

Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), also known as Directive 2002/96/EC, on the other hand mandates the treatment, recovery and recycling of electric and electronic equipment. All applicable products in the EU market after August 13, 2006.

For the complete directives, see Directive 2002/95/EC , Directive 2002/96/EC.

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