What is RoHS?

The Reduction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Regulations 2006 (RoHS) came into force in July 2006. Any electrical product sold within the European Union after this date has to comply with the RoHS Regulations.

Some WEEE contains harmful substances, be it to the environment or to human health. This can make it difficult to recycle or dispose of, and that is where the RoHS Regulations come in. The RoHS Regulations limit the amount of hazardous substances that are used in the manufacture of new electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) that is placed on the market anywhere in the European Union.

Am I affected?

RoHS affects you or your business if you:

  • import or manufacture electrical and electronic equipment into the EU market
  • re-brand EEE as your own product into the EU market

The equipment that RoHS applies to includes:

  • Cat 1 - large household appliance
  • Cat 2 - small household appliances
  • Cat 3 - IT and telecommunications
  • Cat 4 - consumer equipment
  • Cat 5 - lighting equipment
  • Cat 6 - electrical and electronic tools
  • Cat 7 - toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • Cat 10 - automatic dispensers

Categories 8 and 9 will be included from 2014

How do I comply?

Any products or components that are placed on the UK market must comply with the RoHS Regulations. New EEE must not contain more than the permitted levels of hazardous substances. These are:

0.1% by weight for lead
0.1% by weight for mercury
0.1% by weight for hexavalent chromium
0.1% by weight for polybrominated biphenyls
0.1% by weight for polybrominated diphenyl ethers
0.01% by weight for cadmium

There is no requirement to report conformity to RoHS. The assumption is that your products comply with the requirements and the National Weights and Measures Laboratory – who are responsible for policing this – carry out random laboratory checks on electrical items. There have been a number of cases where NWML have taken action against companies selling products that do not comply.