Dear Q-Bot: When I shop QSource.com for certain products, I often see the terms RoHS or RoHS-compliant. What does this mean and why is RoHS-compliance important?
Thanks! — S.R.G. via the Internet
Greetings S.R.G.: RoHS is the acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. Originating in the European Union (EU), and known as Directive 2002/95/EC, it restricts the use of six hazardous/toxic materials used in electrical and electronic products.
Often referred to as Lead-Free, the RoHS Directive indicates maximum levels for these six materials:
- Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm (Exposure can lead to neurological disorders—including changes in mental development and behaviors in children)
- Mercury (Hg): < 100 ppm (Exposure can lead to neurological disorders—especially in babies and children)
- Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm (Exposure can lead to kidney dysfunction, lung cancer, and prostate cancer)
- Hexavalent Chromium: (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm (Exposure can lead to cancer, irritation, nasal septum perforation, the development of stomach ulcers, kidney and liver damage, convulsions, and even death)
- Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm (Exposure is possibly carcinogenic to humans)
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm (Exposure can lead to liver toxicity, thyroid toxicity, and neurodevelopmental toxicity)
For more discussion on RoHS, visit the Q Source Resource discussion .