I have been helping an increasing number of clients track and understand their options regarding the expiration of all RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU) Annex III exemptions for products in all RoHS categories—except 8 and 9—as of July 21, 2016 (see Article 5, paragraph 2). A few European Union-based industry associations are managing working groups (some of which have been in place since mid-2013) that are determining whether to produce Annex V-compliant applications for the renewal of specific exemptions. The applications are due into the European Commission no later than January 21, 2015. At this point there’s not much time left.
The working groups for some exemptions that are very commonly and broadly used, like 6(a), 6(b), 6(c), 7(a) and 7(c)-1, are planning to request minor or no changes to the existing exemption wording, while providing technical data regarding the exemptions’ necessity and difficulty of replacement. Others, such as the working group for exemption 15, are considering significantly changing the exemption wording to—in this case—narrow its scope. On the other hand, the working groups for some of the exemptions, such as 7(b), have not identified a supportable technical rationale for renewal; therefore no application is currently planned. That means if your products are taking exemption 7(b), you’ll need to determine—soon—how to transition them over to lead-free solder.
If your products take exemptions in order to comply with the RoHS Directive, work with your suppliers to determine their awareness of these projects and your engineers to assess business continuity risks. As always, I’m available for guidance and assistance.
While this expiration process does not directly impact medical devices (Category 8) or monitoring and control instruments (Category 9), you would be wise to keep an eye on it since it represents a risk to the availability of components you may be using in your products. I referred to this as “The Tyranny of RoHS” in a past TTI MarketEye article.
If you have no idea what any of this means, and your company produces anything with an electrical or electronic aspect to it, please research RoHS and contact me.
California’s Safer Consumer Products Regulations
With the release of the draft 3-Year Priority Products Work Plan, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has placed bull’s eyes on a wide variety of manufactured goods. This plan details, at a relatively high level, the categories of products that DTSC intends to review in order to identify specific product types that contain Candidate Chemicals, and put them through the Safer Consumer Products regulatory process.
The selected categories of products in the draft work plan are:
- Beauty, personal care and hygiene
- Building (limited to paints, adhesives, sealants and flooring)
- Household, office furniture and furnishings (limited to home and office furnishing products that are treated with flame retardants or stain-resistant chemicals or both)
- Clothing (with a focus on chemical treatment for color fastness, wrinkle/stain resistance/water repellency, etc.)
- Fishing and angling equipment (weights and other gear)
- Office machinery (consumable products, such as printer inks, specialty papers and toner cartridges)
Because the comment period on the draft work plan is open only through October 22, you have only one more week to submit technical comments and recommendations to DTSC.
I strongly recommend that, if you produce and sell products in any of these categories in California, you take the following steps:
- Review the Draft Work Plan.
- Comment, or work with your industry/trade association on comments, as needed
- Review your products’ substance content.
- If you do not completely know the composition of your products, you should consider obtaining that information from your suppliers; this will help you understand whether or not and how your products may be affected, as well as help you with other compliance requirements. ENVIRON can assist with this process!
- Compare the content to the list of Candidate Chemicals.
- If you don’t have them already, download the (updated September 2014) Informational Candidate Chemicals List and Group Member List, here.
- If there are Candidate Chemicals in your products, consider how to weight and prioritize them for assessment and possible replacement.
Mike Kirschner is a principal consultant with ENVIRON