ENVIRON Explains new RoHS2 Scope, Obligations on Distributors and Sample Testing Requirements

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The new RoHS Directive (known as RoHS2) will become EU law when it is published in the EU Official Journal (OJEC) in June 2011, and the new Member State RoHS2 Regulations will take effect 18 months later. But presentations at the TechAmerica workshops earlier this month in San Jose, Chicago and Boston found that many US Manufacturers were unaware of the new RoHS2 scope, obligations on distributors and sample testing requirements. Experts from ENVIRON will explain these new requirements in detail at the IPC International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, May 11 – 12, Boston, MA.

The new RoHS Directive (known as RoHS2) will become EU law when it is published in the EU Official Journal (OJEC) in June 2011, and the new Member State RoHS2 Regulations will take effect 18 months later. But presentations at the TechAmerica workshops earlier this month in San Jose, Chicago and Boston found that many US Manufacturers were unaware of the new RoHS2 scope, obligations on distributors and sample testing requirements. Experts from ENVIRON will explain these new requirements in detail at the IPC International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, May 11 – 12, Boston, MA. ENVIRON is a leading international environmental consultancy which co-Chairs the IPC 1752A International Standard on Materials Declaration Management and manages the http://www.BOMcheck.net industry-led substance declarations web database.

As highlighted by UK Government representative Steve Andrews in his TechAmerica presentation, the RoHS2 scope applies to products which are dependent on electrical power to fulfil at least one intended function. This is fundamentally different to the RoHS1 scope which applies to products which are dependent on electrical power for their primary function. For example, a battery-powered ‘talking teddy bear’ is not covered under RoHS1 because it still fulfils its primary function as a children’s toy when the electronic voice box fails. However, this same product is covered under RoHS2 because ‘talking’ is one of the intended functions of the bear.

Another fundamental change is that distributors have legal responsibilities under RoH2 for the first time. Under Article 10, distributors must act with due care and are not allowed to sell equipment if they have ‘reason to believe’ it is non-compliant. Distributors who find that they have sold non-compliant product are required to ensure that immediate action is taken, including withdrawal or product recall if appropriate, and immediately inform Member States where the product was sold giving details of the non-compliance and corrective measures taken. The distributor obligations apply immediately when the new Member State RoHS2 Regulations take effect. There is no phase-in period to take account of existing stocks at the distributor that the distributor sells after this date.

Clearly there will be many circumstances where a product recall is not appropriate, for example if the coating on one screw on a washing machine was found to be non-compliant. However, under RoHS2 the distributor and manufacturer /importer must explain why a product recall was not appropriate when they inform Member States about the non-compliance and corrective measures.

Most manufacturers are aware that RoHS2 now includes CE Marking requirements. However, many companies had not realised that RoHS2 requires the Manufacturer’s CE Marking technical documentation to include test reports wherever applicable. This does not mean that the Manufacturer must provide test reports for every part in a product – this would be impractical. But it does mean that if the Manufacturer does not include test reports for certain parts in their technical documentation, then the manufacturer is required to explain why test reports are not applicable for those parts.
ENVIRON’s presentation will explain how Manufacturers can use the CE marking product risk assessment to set appropriate internal production controls to identify which parts require test reports and which do not. Manufacturers who wish to benefit from this approach need a systematic approach to gathering and analysing declarations and test reports from suppliers.

The background for these increased compliance obligations on manufacturers, importers and distributors comes from the European Commission’s research in 2008 which found that up to 44% of equipment inspected in Member States was non-compliant to RoHS. Enforcement action published by Sweden last month found that 20% of electronic products were non-compliant to the RoHS substance restrictions for lead. The Swedish Chemicals Agency (http://www.kemi.se) used XRF to scan 129 products electronic products purchased in toy stores and consumer electronics stores. Products that failed the scan were sent for further laboratory analysis and manufacturers were asked if the use of lead in their products was covered by a RoHS exemption. The remaining 27 non-compliant products were reported to the police on 20 April. The Dutch VROM Inspectorate carried out similar enforcement action in 2009 to investigate 450 products from 47 importers and also found that about 20% of electronic products were non-compliant.

For further information about the industry-led substance declarations web database for RoHS, REACH, Batteries and Packaging compliance, please visit http://www.BOMcheck.net. For further information and registration details for the IPC International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment, please visit http://www.ipc.org/green-symposium-registration.

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Aidan Turnbull
aturnbull@environcorp.com
+44 1225 748 420
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