Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is a ban in the use of lead and other heavy metals in the manufacturing of electronic and electrical consumer items placed by the European Union in 2006 via the RoHS 1 directive or lead-free directive. The ten restricted substances are listed at the bottom of this article.  Any printed circuit boards ending up in the EU must be RoHS compliant – meaning lead can not be used at any stage of manufacturing. The board, solder, components on the board cannot have any trace of lead or other heavy metals.

RoHS Compliant

RoHS compliance for circuit boards means that the base material and the surface finish are free of lead. The restrictions are on each homogeneous material in the product; so total of each single substance must meet the standard or the entire product would fail the requirements of the directive.

One importance of the RoHS directive is to reduce the waste, which is hazardous by nature to man and earth, in consumer electronics. Since new technology is being increasingly sought after, the older technology and the products that use it is being discarded at the same rate if not quicker. The waste ends up in landfills or in other countries but in full circle, it negatively impacts us and the planet.

RoHS aids in reducing the damage brought by the discarding of products; to people and to the environment. The directive positively effects manufacturing, assembly and handling of products and prototypes that would have had hazardous impacts on the workers, which at times are children. Contact with solder paste post-RoHS is no longer as detrimental to one’s health.

10 restricted substances:

Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm

Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm

Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm

Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm

Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm

Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm

Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm

Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm

Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm

Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm

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