Many Americans are unaware of RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances), in short:
The RoHS Directive bans (with some exemptions) the placing on the European Market (EU) certain electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed upon levels of Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated Biphenyl and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether, effective July 1st 2006. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) 2002/96/EC which sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of a legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amounts of toxic electronic waste.
The European Union is leading the RoHS charge globally while California seems to be leading it in the United States. California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (SB 20, Sher, Chapter 526, Statutes of 2003) echoes the RoHS Directive and took effect January 1, 2007. Most of the other 49 States have adopted or have pending legislation with RoHS rules.
Hazardous Substances and maximum levels thereof allowed under RoHS:
Lead (Pb) -less than 1000 parts per million 0.1%
Mercury (Hg) -less than 1000 parts per million 0.1%
Cadmium (Cd) -less than 100 parts per million 0.01%
Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI) -less than 1000 parts per million 0.01%
Biphenyl (PBB) -less than 1000 parts per million 0.1%
Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) -less than 1000 parts per million 0.1%
Clicking on the named substances link to Toxicological Profiles and Public Health Statements of each.
Lead, Mercury, Cadmium and Hexavalent Chromium are heavy metals.
Polybrominated Biphenyl and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether are flame retardants used in plastic.