If you know a thing or two about the manufacturing industry, you’ve probably heard of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), a set of regulations implemented in 2006 banning or restricting specific substances from electrical and electronic equipment (EEE). Hazardous substances are those which are deemed harmful to human health and the environment. The six substances addressed in RoHS are lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated diphenyl ether, and polybrominated biphenyl. Revisions began in 2008 for the RoHS recast, or RoHS2, with a deadline of July 2013 for transfer to national law.
What exactly does RoHS2 aim to do? Simply put, its purpose is to clear up any obscurities of the original RoHS and further increase compliance in order to minimize harm to our environment caused by EEE. Firstly, it will gradually extend the RoHS requirements to all EEE, cables, and spare parts. The list of restricted substances remains unchanged, but the new directive has added new product categories which must now adhere to compliance, such as monitoring/control instruments and medical devices. One of RoHS2’s primary objectives is addressing concerns about the increasing volume of waste from EEE. Since hazardous substances can be released during waste management processes, the RoHS2 solution is to restrict hazardous substances at the point of manufacture.
The new RoHS will also establish clearer guidelines for granting, renewing, or deleting exemptions. RoHS2 explains that it is the responsibility of the manufacturer, importer, or operator to assess whether his tool or installation benefits from an exemption. Manufacturers who apply for exemptions must comply with the minimum requirements laid out in Annex V of the original RoHS. Furthermore, RoHS2 requires that two additional things must be taken into account: (1) the availability of substance substitutes and (2) the socioeconomic impact of these substitutions.
The first review of RoHS2 is due by July of 2014―just under a year from now. Though RoHS2 takes necessary steps towards a safer and greener world, many in the manufacturing industry can’t help but wonder whether the new compliance regulations will affect or limit product quality. What’s your take on RoHS2?