What is RoHS? What is REACH?

  • 2023-10-19 15:46:28

If you're an electronics importer, you likely encounter various compliance requirements and market access regulations in your procurement and sales processes. Compliance requirements and regulations differ for different markets and products, including CE, FCC, RoHS, REACH, FDA, etc. For the European market, in addition to CE, RoHS and REACH are essential compliance requirements for electronic products. Whether you're purchasing household air purifiers, portable golf shoes dryers, or larger appliances like TVs and refrigerators, most electronic products must comply with RoHS and REACH regulations. So, what exactly are RoHS and REACH, and what is their scope of applicability?


RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive)

RoHS, which stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, is a European regulation aimed at reducing the use of hazardous substances in electronic and electrical products to protect the environment and human health. These hazardous substances include lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). The primary goal of the RoHS regulation is to reduce the risks these hazardous substances pose to the environment and human health.


Scope of Applicability: RoHS regulations apply to almost all types of electronic and electrical products, ranging from small household appliances (such as irons and vacuum cleaners) to large household appliances (such as refrigerators and washing machines), as well as information technology equipment (such as computers and smartphones) and consumer electronics products (such as TVs and audio systems). Below is an example illustrating the scope of RoHS for a household appliance product.


Example: Suppose you are an electronics importer, and you plan to import and sell a new type of household wall mounted UV light air purifier. According to RoHS regulations, you need to ensure that the product does not contain restricted hazardous substances such as lead and mercury. You would need to collaborate with your suppliers to ensure that the products they provide comply with RoHS requirements and may need to conduct relevant testing and certification to obtain the RoHS compliance mark.


REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals)

REACH, which stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals, is a comprehensive European Union regulation for chemicals. The primary objective of REACH is to ensure the safe use of chemicals, assess their potential risks, authorize the use of hazardous substances, and restrict adverse impacts on the environment and human health.


Scope of Applicability: REACH regulations apply not only to finished electronic products but also to the chemicals, raw materials, and chemical substances used in the manufacturing process of electronic products. For example, if you are a home humidifier OEM parts manufacturer producing electronic circuit boards as components for private-label customized humidifier products, you need to ensure that the chemicals you use comply with REACH regulations. This includes raw materials, printing inks, chemical cleaning agents, and more.


Example: Suppose you are an electronic circuit board manufacturer, and your products are used in various electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets. According to REACH regulations, you need to assess the safety of the chemicals you use and ensure their compliance when incorporated into electronic circuit boards. You would also need to collaborate with chemical suppliers to obtain necessary information about the chemicals and fulfil registration and reporting requirements as mandated by the regulation.


In summary, RoHS and REACH are crucial compliance regulations in the European market, covering both electronic products and the chemicals and materials used in their manufacturing processes. Understanding the requirements of these regulations is vital for electronic product manufacturers and importers to ensure the legal sale of their products in the European market and compliance with environmental and safety standards.

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