EU Publishes Revised Directive Restricting Hazardous Substances in Electrical Products

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BRUSSELS—The European Commission July 1 published EU Directive 2011/65/EU on the restriction of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (the RoHS Directive) in the Official Journal of the European Union, meaning it will enter into force July 21, after a 20-day transition period.

The directive updates a 2002 law that bans cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, mercury, and some brominated flame retardants from products such as computers, mobile phones, and televisions. While the previous version of the law restricted the substances in a number of categories of product, the revised RoHS Directive covers in principle all electrical and electronic goods, including medical devices, electronic toys, cables, and spare parts.

The revision of RoHS was finalized by EU member states in May after extensive negotiations with the European Parliament, which had wanted to extend the law to additional hazardous substances (34 INER 552, 6/8/11).

However, this was resisted by member states and industry, which wanted to avoid overlap with the European Union's REACH chemicals law (Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 on the registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals).

EU countries have until Jan. 2, 2013, to adopt the revised RoHS legislation into their national codes of law. The law allows an eight-year transition period during which the use of prohibited substances must be phased out of electronic equipment not covered by the 2002 directive.

By Stephen Gardner

Full text of the revised RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) is available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:174:0088:0110:EN:PDF .