Keeping up with the requirements of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive is more difficult than it may seem. Although RoHS only covers 10 restricted substances, there are over 240 RoHS exemptions with expiration dates to keep track of. 

Understanding and monitoring RoHS exemptions is key to maintaining your EU market access. You’ll need to know whether any restricted substances are in your products or parts, whether they’re currently covered by an exemption, and when that exemption expires. If you’re relying on an exemption today, your products may no longer be compliant tomorrow.

Upcoming RoHS Directive Exemption Expirations

Here are the latest RoHS exemption updates you need to be aware of. These exemptions are expiring in the near future*:

Exemptions Due to Expire on July 21, 2024

The most recent update to the list of RoHS Directive exemptions includes a notable 48 exemptions set to expire. The following exemptions are listed in the European Commission’s Rolling Plan for expirations:

  • Annex III, ex. 5(a) — Lead in glass of cathode ray tubes — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 5(b) — Lead in glass of fluorescent tubes not exceeding 0.2% by weight — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 7(b) — Lead in solders for servers, storage, and storage array systems; network infrastructure equipment for switching, signaling, and transmission; and network management for telecommunications — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 7(c)-IV — Lead in PZT-based dielectric ceramic materials for capacitors which are part of integrated circuits or discrete semiconductors — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 9  — Hexavalent chromium as an anti-corrosion agent of the carbon steel cooling system in absorption refrigerators up to 0.75% by weight in the cooling solution — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 9(b) — Lead in bearing shells and bushes for refrigerant-containing compressors for heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration (HVACR) applications — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 17 — Lead halide as radiant agent in high intensity discharge (HID) lamps used for professional reprography applications — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 18(b) — Lead as activator in the fluorescent powder (1% lead by weight or less) of discharge lamps when used as sun-tanning lamps containing phosphors such as BSP (BaSi2O5:Pb) — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex III, ex. 21 — Lead and cadmium in printing inks for the application of enamels on glasses, such as borosilicate and soda lime glasses — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 24 — Lead in solders for the soldering to machined through hole discoidal and planar array ceramic multilayer capacitors — applicable to category 11 only 
  • Annex III, ex. 25 — Lead oxide in surface conduction electron emitter displays (SED) used in structural elements, notably in the seal frit and frit ring — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 29 — Lead bound in crystal glass as defined in Annex I (Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4) of Council Directive 69/493/EEC — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex III, ex. 30 — Cadmium alloys as electrical/mechanical solder joints to electrical conductors located directly on the voice coil in transducers used in high-powered loudspeakers with sound pressure levels of 100 dB (A) and more — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 31 — Lead in soldering materials in mercury free flat fluorescent lamps (which, e.g., are used for liquid crystal displays, design or industrial lighting — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 32 — Lead oxide in seal frit used for making window assemblies for argon and krypton laser tubes — applicable to category 11 only
  • Annex III, ex. 33 — Lead in solders for the soldering of thin copper wires of 100 μm in diameter and less in power transformers — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11
  • Annex III, ex. 37 — Lead in the plating layer of high voltage diodes on the basis of a zinc borate glass body — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 38 — Cadmium and cadmium oxide in thick film pastes used on aluminum-bonded beryllium oxide — applicable to categories 9 industrial and 11 
  • Annex III, ex. 41 — Lead in solders and termination finishes of electrical and electronic components and finishes of printed circuit boards used in ignition modules and other electrical and electronic engine control systems, which for technical reasons must be mounted directly on or in the crankcase or cylinder of hand-held combustion engines (classes SH:1, SH:2, SH:3 of Directive 97/68/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council) — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex III, ex. 43 — Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in rubber components in engine systems, designed for use in equipment that is not intended solely for consumer use and provided that no plasticized material comes into contact with human mucus membranes or into prolonged contact with human skin and the concentration value of bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate does not exceed: (a) 30 % by weight of the rubber for (i) gasket coatings; (ii) solid-rubber gaskets; or (iii) rubber components included in assemblies of at least three components using electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic energy to do work, and attached to the engine. (b) 10 % by weight of the rubber for rubber-containing components not referred to in point (a). For the purposes of this entry, “prolonged contact with human skin” means continuous contact of more than 10 minutes’ duration or intermittent contact over a period of 30 minutes per day — applicable to category 11 only
  • Annex IV, ex. 1(d) — Mercury in reference electrodes: low chloride mercury chloride, mercury sulfate and mercury oxide — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 2 — Lead bearings in X-ray tubes — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 6  — Lead in X-ray test objects — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 7 — Lead stearate X-ray diffraction crystals — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 8 — Radioactive cadmium isotope source for portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometers — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 11 — Lead in alloys as a superconductor and thermal conductor in MRI — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 13 — Lead in counterweights — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 14 — Lead in single crystal piezoelectric materials for ultrasonic transducers — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 15 — Lead in solders for bonding to ultrasonic transducers — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 16 — Mercury in very high-accuracy capacitance and loss measurement bridges and in high-frequency RF switches and relays in monitoring and control instruments not exceeding 20 mg of mercury per switch or relay — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 17 — Lead in solders in portable emergency defibrillators — applicable to category 9 industrial only  
  • Annex IV, ex. 18 — Lead in solders of high performance infrared imaging modules to detect in the range 8–14 μm — applicable to category 9 industrial only  
  • Annex IV, ex. 19 — Lead in liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS) displays — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 20 — Cadmium in X-ray measurement filters — applicable to category 9 industrial only 
  • Annex IV, ex. 31(a) — Lead, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in spare parts recovered from and used for the repair or refurbishment of medical devices, including in vitro diagnostic medical devices, or electron microscopes and their accessories, provided that the reuse takes place in auditable closed-loop business-to-business return systems and that each reuse of parts is notified to the customer — applicable to category 9 industrial only
  • Annex IV, ex. 35 — Mercury in cold cathode fluorescent lamps for back-lighting liquid crystal displays, not exceeding 5 mg per lamp, used in industrial monitoring and control instruments placed on the market before 22 July 2017 — applicable to category 9 industrial only

*DISCLAIMER: This document outlines Assent Inc.’s interpretation of the current status of RoHS Directive exemptions, and cannot be seen or understood as legally binding. All other current exemptions with a future expiry date are listed as subject to decisions on extension requests.

What Are RoHS Exemptions?

A RoHS Directive exemption temporarily allows a restricted substance to be used in certain applications. While the exemption is active, the affected industry is expected to research and test possible replacements for the restricted substance so that the substance can be phased out. 

There are currently more than 200 RoHS exemptions, as there can be multiple exemptions for each substance based on application. In addition, as more industry categories came into scope of RoHS, new expiration dates were added for certain categories. For example, category 9 (industrial) came into scope in 2017, with exemptions valid until 2024, whereas category 9 (monitoring and control instruments) came into scope 2014 and had exemptions valid until 2021.

RoHs Exemption Extensions & Amendments

During the period an exemption is still valid, industry can request an extension or amendment if alternatives cannot be identified. However, these requests must be made no later than 18 months before the expiry date. 

The European Commission evaluates all requests and has the ability to publish an amendment or extend the validity period if it concludes that it would be scientifically or technically impractical to eliminate the substance. However, it’s better to take a proactive approach to identifying RoHS compliance than waiting to see if an extension will be granted. 

Stay Compliant With RoHS as It Changes

If there’s one thing you can count on with RoHS compliance, it’s that your program will need constant updates and regulatory monitoring support. Assent’s supply chain sustainability solution combines expert regulatory monitoring for RoHS, so you can see when your in-scope exemptions are set to expire. We protect your EU market access and help you identify parts and articles made with RoHS-restricted substances.

Get a complete guide to RoHS compliance by downloading Assent’s RoHS Handbook: Your Guide to Compliance. You’ll learn about preparing your supply chain, demonstrating compliance through the CE marking and declarations of conformity, and how to conduct a RoHS assessment. 

Get Your RoHS Guide

Sue Fortunato-Esbach
Manager, Sustainability

Sue is committed to helping companies fulfill their legal requirements by translating legal complexity into technical efficiency. Based in Frankfurt, Germany, Sue brings extensive experience in the  Read More

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