The EU’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) Directive 2002/95/EC, often referred to as the "lead free" directive, restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive 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 waste.
Substances restricted by the RoHS Directive include: lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium VI (also known as hexavalent chromium or Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). This RoHS Directive adopted by the Member States of the Euoropean Union is effective July 1, 2006, each Member State will adopt its own enforcement and implementation policies using the Directive as a guide. Whether products are made in the EU or imported to the EU the RoHS Directive still applies to all equipment specified in the WEEE Directive, certain exemptions do apply.
Beginning with Japan's adoption of the Law for Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources (PEUR) in 1991, recycling laws have encouraged Japanese manufacturers to limit the use of hazardous materials. Although Japan does not have any legislation directly dealing with the RoHS Directive, starting July 1, 2006 Japanese manufacturers began limiting the use of hazardous substances, similar to the RoHS guidelines, to meet the PEUR Amendment Obligation to provide information on chemical substances in home appliances and PCs. A content marking standard J-Moss was established by (Japanese Industrial Standard) JIS C 0950 to certify the presence of a specific chemical or substance for target products. The target electrical and electronic products of Japanese manufacturers and import sellers restricted by J-Moss include: personal computers, unit-type air conditioners, television sets, refrigerators, washing machines, microwave ovens, and clothes dryers.
For more information refer to:
• (United Kingdom) National Weights & Measure Laboratory (NWML)
UK's RoHS Enforcement
• European Union Waste Management Legislation summary for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
• Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission
Waste Electrical and Eletronic Equipment
• (Japan) Ministry of Economy Economy, Trade and Industry 3R Policies