RoHS: Restriction of the use of Certain Hazardous Substances
RoHS restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products (EEE products). The current list of restricted substances is found in Annex II of the Directive and includes four heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium) and two brominated flame retardants (polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)).
The Directive mandates that EEE products must not contain more than 0.1% (except for cadmium which is limited to 0.01%) by weight of homogenous material of any of listed substances. Homogenous material means a material that cannot be mechanically disjointed into different materials.
The original RoHS Directive was adopted on January 27, 2003. It was recast by the European Parliament and Council on June 8, 2011 and is often referred to as “RoHS II”. RoHS II is transitioning to an “open scope” Directive. This means that the Directive will apply to EEE products that are “dependent on electric current or electromagnetic fields for at least one intended function. The transition will be completed in 2019.
Some products may benefit from a temporary exclusion from the application of the Directive during the transition period. U.S. exporters should consult the text of the Directive, contact our office, or seek specialized guidance if they have questions on whether their products benefit from such an exclusion.
Exemptions and Exclusions
RoHS II exempts certain applications from the substance restrictions. The exemptions are temporary and reviewed at least every four years. The current list of exemptions is contained in Annex III. Annex III has been amended by Commission Delegated Directives 2012/50/EU and 2012/51/EU.
Specific exemptions for medical devices and monitoring and control instruments are listed in Annex IV of ROHS II.
U.S. exporters that wish to seek an exemption from the application of the Directive to their products can find the application requirements listed in Annex V of the Directive. Applications should be submitted to the European Commission Directorate General for Environment located at:
Environment DG, Unit C2
B - 1049 Brussels
Permanent exclusions from RoHS include the following: military equipment, space equipment, equipment designed to be part of another piece of equipment falling outside the scope of RoHS, large scale industry tools, large scale fixed installations, means of transport for persons or goods, non-road mobile machinery, active implantable medical devices, photovoltaic panels, equipment for research and development only available business to business.
Labeling and CE Marking
RoHS II is a CE Mark Directive. This means that each product covered by ROHS must have technical testing and accompanying documents, a declaration of conformity, and the CE marking affixed to the product. The format of the declaration of conformity is outlined in Annex VI of the Directive. The CE mark for ROHS products entered into force on 2 January 2013.
Legal Documents and Guidance
U.S. businesses exporting products covered by RoHS II may find the following documents useful:
Questions and further information:
Please contact us at: Office.BrusselsEC@trade.gov
*Page last updated on May 16, 2013.