Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2005 (RoHS)

Who does it affect?
Manufacturers, sellers, distributors and recylers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) containing:

  • lead;
  • mercury;
  • cadmium;
  • hexavalent chromium;
  • polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs); or
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

In order to put products on the market in the EU, manufacturers will need to ensure that their products and product components comply with the requirements of the Regulations by the relevant date.

The RoHS Regulations implement the provisions of the European Parliament and Council Directive on the Restrictions of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (2002/95/EC) in order to:

  • protect human health and the environment by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in new equipment; and
  • complement the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive (2002/96/EC)

Key elements

From 1 July 2006 a producer (as defined in the Regulations) may not put new EEE, which falls into any of the eight categories listed below containing more than the permitted levels of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBBs or PBDEs, on the market in the EU.

  • Large household appliances
  • Small household appliances
  • IT and telecommunication equipment
  • Consumer equipment
  • Lighting equipment
  • Electrical and electronic tools (with the exception of large – scale stationary industrial tools)
  • Toys, leisure and sports equipment
  • Automatic dispensers

These categories reflect the categories in the WEEE Directive. In addition, the RoHS Regulations apply to both electric light bulbs and to house light fixings.

Certain applications listed in the RoHS Regulations are exempt, and there is also an exemption for spare parts used for the repair of equipment put on the market before 1 July 2006. The Regulations do not apply to the re-use of equipment placed on the market before 1 July 2006.

Note that although the RoHS Regulations have been published, they do not come into force until 1st July 2006. They are therefore listed on the NetRegs website under both Current and Future Legislation.

Producers must be able to demonstrate compliance by submitting technical or other information to the enforcing authority on request. They must retain such documentation for four years after the EEE is placed on the market.

The Secretary of State has the duty of enforcing the RoHS Regulations and may appoint a third party to act on his behalf. The enforcement powers include a power to serve a compliance notice and make test purchases. Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of the Regulations will be guilty of an offence.

The RoHS Regulations come into force on 1 July 2006.

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