Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive
Encyclopedia
The Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment 2002/95/EC was adopted in February 2003 by the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. The RoHS directive
European Union directive
A directive is a legislative act of the European Union, which requires member states to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result. It can be distinguished from regulations which are self-executing and do not require any implementing measures. Directives...

took effect on 1 July 2006, and is required to be enforced and become law in each member state. This directive restricts the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all...

(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 e-waste. In speech, RoHS is often spelled out, or pronounced ˈ, ˈ, ˈ, ˈ.

## Details

Each European Union member state will adopt its own enforcement and implementation policies using the directive as a guide.

RoHS is often referred to as the lead-free directive, but it restricts the use of the following six substances:
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

(Pb)
2. Mercury
Mercury (element)
Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is also known as quicksilver or hydrargyrum...

(Hg)
Cadmium is a chemical element with the symbol Cd and atomic number 48. This soft, bluish-white metal is chemically similar to the two other stable metals in group 12, zinc and mercury. Similar to zinc, it prefers oxidation state +2 in most of its compounds and similar to mercury it shows a low...

(Cd)
4. Hexavalent chromium
Hexavalent chromium
Hexavalent chromium refers to chemical compounds that contain the element chromium in the +6 oxidation state. Virtually all chromium ore is processed via hexavalent chromium, specifically the salt sodium dichromate. Approximately of hexavalent chromium were produced in 1985...

(Cr6+)
5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether
PBDE
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDE, are organobromine compounds that are used as flame retardants. Like other brominated flame retardants, PBDEs have been used in a wide array of products, including building materials, electronics, furnishings, motor vehicles, airplanes, plastics,...

(PBDE)

PBB and PBDE are flame retardant
Flame retardant
Flame retardants are chemicals used in thermoplastics, thermosets, textiles and coatings that inhibit or resist the spread of fire. These can be separated into several different classes of chemicals:...

s used in several plastics.

The maximum permitted concentrations are 0.1% or 1000 ppm (except for cadmium, which is limited to 0.01% or 100 ppm) by weight of homogeneous material. This means that the limits do not apply to the weight of the finished product, or even to a component, but to any single substance that could (theoretically) be separated mechanically—for example, the sheath on a cable or the tinning on a component lead.

As an example, a radio is composed of a case, screws, washers, a circuit board, speakers, etc. The screws, washers, and case may each be made of homogenous materials, but the other components comprise multiple sub-components of many different types of material. For instance, a circuit board is composed of a bare PCB
Printed circuit board
A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components using conductive pathways, tracks or signal traces etched from copper sheets laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. It is also referred to as printed wiring board or etched wiring...

, IC
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

s, resistors, capacitors, switches, etc. A switch is composed of a case, a lever, a spring, contacts, pins, etc., each of which may be made of different materials. A contact might be composed of a copper strip with a surface coating. A speaker is composed of a permanent magnet, copper wire, paper, etc.

Everything that can be identified as a homogeneous material must meet the limit. So if it turns out that the case was made of plastic with 2,300 ppm (0.23%) PBB used as a flame retardant, then the entire radio would fail the requirements of the directive.

In an effort to close RoHS loopholes, in May 2006 the European Commission was asked to review two currently excluded product categories (monitoring and control equipment, and medical devices) for future inclusion in the products that must fall into RoHS compliance. In addition the commission entertains requests for deadline extensions or for exclusions by substance categories, substance location or weight. New legislation was published in the official journal in July, 2011 which supersedes this exemption.

Note that batteries are not included within the scope of RoHS. However, in Europe, batteries are under the European Commission's 1991 Battery Directive (91/157/EEC), which was recently increased in scope and approved in the form of the new battery directive
Battery Directive
Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC, commonly known as the Battery Directive, regulates the manufacture and disposal of batteries in the European...

, version 2003/0282 COD, which will be official when submitted to and published in the EU's Official Journal. While the first Battery Directive addressed possible trade barrier issues brought about by disparate European member states' implementation, the new directive more explicitly highlights improving and protecting the environment from the negative effects of the waste contained in batteries. It also contains a program for more ambitious recycling of industrial, automotive, and consumer batteries, gradually increasing the rate of manufacturer-provided collection sites to 45% by 2016. It also sets limits of 5 ppm mercury and 20 ppm cadmium to batteries except those used in medical, emergency, or portable power-tool devices. Though not setting quantitative limits on quantities of lead, lead-acid, nickel, and nickel-cadmium in batteries, it cites a need to restrict these substances and provide for recycling up to 75% of batteries with these substances. There are also provisions for marking the batteries with symbols in regard to metal content and recycling collection information.

The directive applies to equipment as defined by a section of the WEEE directive. The following numeric categories apply:
1. Large household appliances.
2. Small household appliances.
3. IT & Telecommunications equipment (although infrastructure equipment is exempt in some countries)
4. Consumer equipment.
5. Lighting equipment—including light bulbs.
6. Electronic and electrical tools.
7. Toys, leisure, and sports equipment.
8. Medical devices (currently exempt)
9. Monitoring and control instruments (currently exempt)
10. Automatic dispensers.
11. Semiconductor devices

It does not apply to fixed industrial plant and tools. Compliance is the responsibility of the company that puts the product on the market, as defined in the Directive; components and sub-assemblies are not responsible for product compliance. Of course, given the fact that the regulation is applied at the homogeneous material level, data on substance concentrations needs to be transferred through the supply chain to the final producer. An IPC standard has recently been developed and published to facilitate this data exchange, IPC-1752. It is enabled through two PDF forms that are free to use.

RoHS applies to these products in the EU whether made within the EU or imported. Certain exemptions apply, and these are updated on occasion by the EU.

### Examples of product components containing restricted substances

RoHS restricted substances have been used in a broad array of consumer electronics products. Examples of leaded components include:
• paints and pigments
• PVC (vinyl) cables as a stabilizer (e.g., power cords, USB cables)
• solders
• printed circuit board finishes, leads, internal and external interconnects
• glass in television and photographic products (e.g., CRT television screens and camera lenses)
• metal parts
• lamps and bulbs
• batteries

Cadmium is found in many of the above components, examples include plastic pigmentation, nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries
The nickel–cadmium battery ' is a type of rechargeable battery using nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes....

and CdS
Cadmium sulfide is the inorganic compound with the formula CdS. Cadmium sulfide is a yellow solid. It occurs in nature with two different crystal structures as the rare minerals greenockite and hawleyite, but is more prevalent as an impurity substituent in the similarly structured zinc ores...

photocells (used in night lights). Mercury is used in lighting applications and automotive switches, examples include fluorescent lamp
Fluorescent lamp
A fluorescent lamp or fluorescent tube is a gas-discharge lamp that uses electricity to excite mercury vapor. The excited mercury atoms produce short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor to fluoresce, producing visible light. A fluorescent lamp converts electrical power into useful...

s (used in laptops for backlighting) and mercury tilt switches
Mercury switch
A mercury switch is a switch whose purpose is to allow or interrupt the flow of electric current in an electrical circuit in a manner that is dependent on the switch's physical position or alignment relative to the direction of the "pull" of earth's gravity, or other inertia.Mercury switches...

(these are rarely used nowadays). Hexavalent chromium is used for metal finishes to prevent corrosion. Polybrominated biphenyls and diphenyl Ethers/Oxides are used primarily as flame retardants.

### Hazardous materials and the high-tech trash problem

RoHS and other efforts to reduce hazardous materials in electronics are motivated in part to address the global issue of consumer electronics waste. As newer technology arrives at an ever increasing rate, consumers are discarding their obsolete products sooner than ever. This waste ends up in landfills and in countries like China to be "recycled."

"In the fashion-conscious mobile market, 98 million U.S. cell phones took their last call in 2005. All told, the EPA estimates that in the U.S. that year, between 1.5 and 1.9 million tons of computers, TVs, VCRs, monitors, cell phones, and other equipment were discarded. If all sources of electronic waste are tallied, it could total 50 million tons a year worldwide, according to the UN Environment Programme."

American electronics sent offshore to countries like Ghana in West Africa under the guise of recycling may be doing more harm than good. Not only are adult and child workers in these jobs being poisoned by heavy metals, but these metals are returning to the U.S. "The U.S. right now is shipping large quantities of leaded materials to China, and China is the world's major manufacturing center," Dr. Jeffrey Weidenhamer says, a chemistry professor at Ashland University in Ohio. "It's not all that surprising things are coming full circle and now we're getting contaminated products back."

### Changing toxicity perceptions

In addition to the high-tech trash problem, RoHS reflects contemporary research over the past 50 years in biological toxicology that acknowledges the long-term effects of low-level chemical exposure on populations. New testing is capable of detecting much smaller concentrations of environmental toxins. Researchers are associating these exposures with neurological, developmental, and reproductive changes.

RoHS and other environmental laws are in contrast to historical and contemporary law that seek to address only acute toxicology, that is direct exposure to large amounts of toxins causing severe injury or death.

### Life-cycle impact assessment of lead-free solder

The United States Environmental Protection Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and the environment, by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress...

(EPA) has published a life-cycle assessment (LCA) of the environmental impacts of lead-free and tin-lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

solder
Solder
Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece.Soft solder is what is most often thought of when solder or soldering are mentioned and it typically has a melting range of . It is commonly used in electronics and...

, as used in electronic products. For bar solders, when only lead-free solders were considered, the tin/copper alternative had the lowest (best) scores. For paste solders, bismuth
Bismuth
Bismuth is a chemical element with symbol Bi and atomic number 83. Bismuth, a trivalent poor metal, chemically resembles arsenic and antimony. Elemental bismuth may occur naturally uncombined, although its sulfide and oxide form important commercial ores. The free element is 86% as dense as lead...

/tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

/silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

had the lowest impact scores among the lead-free alternatives in every category except non-renewable resource
Non-renewable resource
A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, grown, generated, or used on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate, once depleted there is no more available for future needs. Also considered non-renewable are resources that are consumed much faster than nature...

consumption. For both paste and bar solders, all of the lead-free solder alternatives had a lower (better) LCA score in toxicity categories than tin/lead solder. This is primarily due to the toxicity of lead, and the amount of lead that leaches from printed wiring board assemblies, as determined by the leachability study conducted by the partnership. The study results are providing the industry with an objective analysis of the life-cycle environmental impacts of leading candidate alternative lead-free solders, allowing industry to consider environmental concerns along with the traditionally evaluated parameters of cost and performance. This assessment is also allowing industry to redirect efforts toward products and processes that reduce solders' environmental footprint, including energy consumption, releases of toxic chemicals, and potential risks to human health and the environment. Another life-cycle assessment by IKP, University of Stuttgart, shows similar results to those of the EPA study.

### Life-cycle impact assessment of BFR-free plastics

The ban on concentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFR) above 0.1% in plastics has had an impact on plastics recycling. As more and more products include recycled plastics, it has become critical to know the BFR concentration in these plastics, either by tracing the origins of the recycled plastics to establish the BFR concentrations, or by measuring the BFR concentrations from samples. Plastics with high BFR concentrations are costly to handle or to discard, whereas plastics with levels below 0.1% have value as recyclable materials.

There are a number of analytical techniques for the rapid measurement of BFR concentrations. X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy can confirm the presence of bromine (Br), but it does not indicate the BFR concentration or specific molecule. Ion attachment mass spectrometry
Ion attachment mass spectrometry
Ion-attachment mass spectrometry is a form of mass spectrometry that uses a "soft" form of ionization similar to chemical ionization in which a cation is attached to the analyte molecule in a reactive collision:M + X^+ + A \to MX^+ + A...

(IAMS) can be used to measure BFR concentrations in plastics. The BFR ban has had significant impacts both upstream — plastic material selection — and downstream — plastic material recycling.

### Solar Panels

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film PV modules in photovoltaic panels are explicitly allowed by RoHS to contain cadmium, even though cadmium is restricted in all other electronics. The solar panel exemption was in the original 2003 RoHS regulation and it was further extended on May 27th, 2011.

### Product category 8 and 9 exclusions

Medical devices, and monitoring and control instruments comprise RoHS Category 8 and Category 9 products respectively. The EU recognizes that these products are manufactured in small numbers and generally have a long product life. Further, these products are often used in mission-critical applications where their failure can reasonably be expected to be extremely disruptive, if not catastrophic. Since the long term effects of lead-free solder, a primary RoHS objective, cannot be known for a period of at least five years following the directive’s application to the remaining eight categories, the EU has established at least a temporary moratorium for Category 8 and 9 products.

In an effort to gain more insight the EU commissioned a study to assess when and if the RoHS directive should be applied to Category 8 and 9 products. Released in July 2006, the Review of Directive 2002/95/EC (RoHS) Categories 8 and 9 – Final Report recommended that Category 8 and 9 products remain exempt from the RoHS directive until 2012 or 2018 depending upon specific product sub-categories and applications. Since the EU has not yet adopted this recommendation, the exact timing of RoHS application to Category 8 and 9 products remained uncertain.

Legislation published in July, 2011 removes these exemptions.

## Labeling

RoHS does not require any specific product labeling, however many manufacturers have adopted their own compliance marks to reduce confusion. Visual indicators in use today include explicit "RoHS compliant" labels, green leaves, check marks, and "PB-Free" markings. In addition, the closely related WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all...

) trash-can logo with an "X" through it is an indicator that the product may be compliant. Chinese RoHS labels, a lower case "e" within a circle with arrows, can also designate compliance.

The proposed RoHS2 attempts to address this issue by requiring the CE mark
CE mark
CE marking is a mandatory conformity mark for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area . With the CE marking on a product the manufacturer ensures that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives...

## RoHS in other regions

Please note that world wide standards and certification are available under the QC 080000 standard, governed by the NSAI
NSAI
NSAI may refer to:*Nashville Songwriters Association International, songwriting preservation and education society*National Spatial Address Infrastructure, a United Kingdom government initiative...

(National Standards Authority of Ireland), to ensure the control of RoHs in industrial applications.

### Asia / Pacific

China Order No. 39: Final Measures for the Administration of the Control and Electronic Information Products (often referred to as China RoHS
China RoHS
China RoHS , officially known as Administrative Measure on the Control of Pollution Caused by Electronic Information Products is a Chinese government regulation to control certain materials, including lead....

) has the stated intent to establish similar restrictions, but in fact takes a very different approach. Unlike EU RoHS, where products in specified categories are included unless specifically excluded, there will be a list of included products, known as the catalogue — see Article 18 of the regulation — which will be a subset of the total scope of Electronic Information Products, or EIPs, to which the regulations apply. Initially, products that fall under the covered scope must provide markings and disclosure as to the presence of certain substances, while the substances themselves are not (yet) prohibited. There are some products that are EIPs, which are not in scope for EU RoHS, e.g. radar systems, semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, photomasks, etc. The list of EIPs is available in Chinese and English. The marking and disclosure aspects of the regulation were intended to take effect on July 1, 2006, but were postponed twice to March 1, 2007. There is no timeline for the catalogue yet.

Japan: Japan does not have any direct legislation dealing with the RoHS substances, but its recycling laws have spurred Japanese manufacturers to move to a lead-free process in accordance with RoHS guidelines. A ministerial ordinance  Japanese industrial standard for Marking Of Specific Chemical Substances (J-MOSS), effective from July 1, 2006, directs that some electronic products exceeding a specified amount of the nominated toxic substances must carry a warning label.

South Korea: South Korea promulgated the Act for Resource Recycling of Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Vehicles on April 2, 2007. This regulation has aspects of RoHS, WEEE, and ELV.

Turkey: Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

announced the implementation of their Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation effective June 2009.

### North America

California has passed SB 20: Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, or EWRA. This law prohibits the sale of electronic devices after January 1, 2007, that are prohibited from being sold under the EU RoHS directive, but across a much narrower scope that includes LCDs, CRTs, and the like and only covers the four heavy metals restricted by RoHS. EWRA also has a restricted material disclosure requirement.

Effective January 1, 2010, the California Lighting Efficiency and Toxics Reduction Act applies RoHS to general purpose lights, i.e. "lamps, bulbs, tubes, or other electric devices that provide functional illumination for indoor residential, indoor commercial, and outdoor use."

Other US states and cities are debating whether to adopt similar laws, and there are several states that have mercury and PBDE bans already.

## Other standards

RoHS is not the only environmental standard of which electronic product developers should be aware. Manufacturers will find that it is cheaper to have only a single bill of materials
Bill of materials
A bill of materials is a list of the raw materials, sub-assemblies, intermediate assemblies, sub-components, components, parts and the quantities of each needed to manufacture an end product...

for a product that is distributed worldwide, instead of customizing the product to fit each country's specific environmental laws. Therefore, they develop their own standards, which allow only the strictest of all allowable substances.

For example, IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

forces each of their suppliers to complete a Product Content Declaration form to document compliance to their environmental standard Baseline Environmental Requirements for Materials, Parts and Products for IBM Logo Hardware Products. So for example, IBM banned DecaBDE
Decabromodiphenyl ether
Decabromodiphenyl ether is a brominated flame retardant which belongs to the group of polybrominated diphenyl ethers ....

, even though there was formerly a RoHS exemption for this material http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2005:271:0048:0050:EN:PDF (overturned by the European Court in 2008 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62006J0014:EN:HTML).

Similarly, here is Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard Company or HP is an American multinational information technology corporation headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA that provides products, technologies, softwares, solutions and services to consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, including...

's environmental standard: General specification for the environment (GSE).

## Criticism

Adverse effects on product quality and reliability, plus high cost of compliance (especially to small business) are cited as criticisms of the directive, as well as early research indicating that the life cycle benefits of lead-free solder
Solder
Solder is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece.Soft solder is what is most often thought of when solder or soldering are mentioned and it typically has a melting range of . It is commonly used in electronics and...

versus traditional solder materials are mixed.

Criticism early on came from an industry resistant to change and a misunderstanding of solders and soldering processes. Deliberate misinformation was espoused to resist what was perceived as a "non-tariff barrier created by European bureaucrats." Many believe the industry is stronger now through this experience and has a better understanding of the science and technologies involved.

One criticism of RoHS is that the restriction of lead and cadmium does not address some of their most prolific applications, while being costly for the electronics industry to comply with. Specifically, the total lead used in electronics makes up only 2% of world lead consumption, while 90% of lead is used for batteries (covered by the battery directive, as mentioned above, which requires recycling and limits the use of mercury and cadmium, but does not restrict lead). Another criticism is that less than 4% of lead in landfills is due to electronic components or circuit boards, while approximately 36% is due to leaded glass in monitors and televisions, which can contain up to 2 kg per screen.

The more common Lead-free solder systems have a higher melting point e.g., a 30 °C typical difference for tin-silver-copper alloys but wave soldering temperature is approximately the same at ~255 °C; however at this temperature most typical lead free solders have longer wetting times than eutectic Pb/Sn 37:63 solder. Additionally wetting force is typically lower, which can be disadvantageous (for hole filling), but advantageous in other situations (closely spaced components).

Care must be taken in selection of RoHS solders as some formulations are harder with less ductility, increasing the likelihood of cracks
Fracture
A fracture is the separation of an object or material into two, or more, pieces under the action of stress.The word fracture is often applied to bones of living creatures , or to crystals or crystalline materials, such as gemstones or metal...

instead of plastic deformation, which is typical for lead-containing solders. Cracks can occur due to thermal or mechanical forces acting on components or the circuit board, the former being more common during manufacturing and the latter in the field. RoHS solders exhibit advantages and disadvantages in these respects, dependent on packaging and formulation.

The editor of Conformity Magazine wonders if the transition to lead-free solder will affect long-term reliability of electronic devices and systems, especially in applications more mission-critical than in consumer products, citing possible breaches due to other environmental factors like oxidation. This article refers to the Newark InOne "RoHS Legislation and Technical Manual", which cites these and other "lead-free" solder issues, such as:
1. Warping or delamination of printed circuit boards;
2. Damage to through-holes, ICs and components on circuit boards; and,
3. Added moisture sensitivity, all of which may compromise quality and reliability.

### Effect on reliability

Potential reliability concerns are addressed in Annex, item #7, of the RoHS directive, granting servers exemption from regulation until 2010. These issues were raised when the directive was first implemented in 2003 and reliability effects were less known.

Another potential problem that lead-free solders face is the growth of tin whiskers
Whisker (metallurgy)
Metal whiskering is a crystalline metallurgical phenomenon involving the spontaneous growth of tiny, filiform hairs from a metallic surface. The effect is primarily seen on elemental metals but also occurs with alloys....

. These thin strands of tin can grow and make contact with an adjacent trace, developing a short circuit
Short circuit
A short circuit in an electrical circuit that allows a current to travel along an unintended path, often where essentially no electrical impedance is encountered....

### Health benefits

RoHS helps reduce damage to people and the environment in third-world countries where much of today's "high-tech trash" ends up.
The use of lead-free solders and components has provided immediate health benefits to electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations. Contact with solder paste no longer represents the same health-hazard it did before.

### Reliability concerns unfounded

Contrary to the predictions of widespread component failure and reduced reliability, RoHS's first anniversary (July 2007) passed with little fanfare. Today, millions of compliant products are in use worldwide. Most of today's consumer electronics are now RoHS compliant, examples include Apple's iPod portable music players, Dell and HP home computers and servers, Nintendo's Wii, Motorola and Nokia's wireless phones, Netgear routers, and Panasonic televisions and appliances.

Many electronics companies keep "RoHS status" pages on their corporate websites. For example, the AMD website states:

"Although lead containing solder cannot be completely eliminated from all applications today, AMD engineers have developed effective technical solutions to reduce lead content in microprocessors and chipsets to ensure RoHS compliance while minimizing costs and maintaining product features. There is no change to fit, functional, electrical or performance specifications. Quality and reliability standards for RoHS compliant products are expected to be identical compared to current packages."

RoHS printed circuit board finishing technologies are surpassing traditional formulations in fabrication thermal shock, solder paste printability, contact resistance, and aluminum wire bonding performance and nearing their performance in other attributes.

The properties of lead-free solder, such as its high temperature resilience, has been used to prevent failures under harsh field conditions. These conditions include 150 °C operating temperature
Operating temperature
An operating temperature is the temperature at which an electrical or mechanical device operates. The device will operate effectively within a specified temperature range which varies based on the device function and application context, and ranges from the minimum operating temperature to the...

s with test cycles in the range of -40 °C - 150 °C with severe vibration and shock requirements. Automobile manufacturers are turning to RoHS solutions now as electronics move into the engine bay.

### Flow properties and assembly

One of the major differences between lead-containing and lead-free solder pastes is the "flow" of the solder in its liquid state. Lead-containing solder has higher surface tension, and tends to move slightly to attach itself to exposed metal surfaces that touch any part of the liquid solder. Lead-free solder conversely tends to stay in place where it is in its liquid state, and attaches itself to exposed metal surfaces only where the liquid solder touches it.

This lack of "flow"—while typically seen as a disadvantage because it can lead to lesser quality electrical contacts—can be used to place components tighter than they normally could be placed due to the properties of lead-containing solders.

For example, Motorola reports that their new RoHS wireless device assembly techniques are ". . .enabling a smaller, thinner, lighter unit." Their Motorola Q phone would not have been possible without the new solder. The lead-free solder allows for tighter pad spacing.

### Some exempt products achieve compliance

Research into new alloys and technologies is allowing companies to release RoHS products that are currently exempt from compliance, e.g. computer servers. IBM has announced a RoHS solution for high lead solder joints once thought to remain a permanent exemption. The lead-free packaging technology "...offers economical advantages in relation to traditional bumping processes, such as solder waste reduction, use of bulk alloys, quicker time-to-market for products and a much lower chemical usage rate."

Test and measurement vendors, such as National Instruments
National Instruments
National Instruments Corporation, or NI , is an American company with over 5,000 employees and direct operations in 41 countries. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it is a producer of automated test equipment and virtual instrumentation software...

, have also started to produce RoHS-compliant products, despite devices in this category being exempt from the RoHS directive.

• Battery Directive
Battery Directive
Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC, commonly known as the Battery Directive, regulates the manufacture and disposal of batteries in the European...

• Electronic waste
Electronic waste
Electronic waste, e-waste, e-scrap, or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment describes discarded electrical or electronic devices. There is a lack of consensus as to whether the term should apply to resale, reuse, and refurbishing industries, or only to product that cannot be used for its...

• Green computing
Green computing
Green computing or green IT, refers to environmentally sustainable computing or IT. In the article Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices, San Murugesan defines the field of green computing as "the study and practice of designing, manufacturing, using, and disposing of computers, servers,...

• Ion attachment mass spectrometry
Ion attachment mass spectrometry
Ion-attachment mass spectrometry is a form of mass spectrometry that uses a "soft" form of ionization similar to chemical ionization in which a cation is attached to the analyte molecule in a reactive collision:M + X^+ + A \to MX^+ + A...

- used to enforce RoHS limits on banned substances
• List of European Union directives
• Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive is the European Community directive 2002/96/EC on waste electrical and electronic equipment which, together with the RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC, became European Law in February 2003, setting collection, recycling and recovery targets for all...