In a November 24 plenary vote, the European Parliament agreed on proposed changes to the RoHS Directive with an overwhelming majority. Thanks to extensive lobbying by IPC and others, the proposed changes do not include any additional substances for restriction. IPC has been a strong advocate for a scientifically based RoHS Directive, lobbying extensively to prevent the addition of any substance restrictions without scientific evidence. The proposed changes also do not include a list of substances for priority assessment, which was included in amendments previously approved by the Parliament Environmental Committee. IPC fervently advocated against listing substances for priority assessment in Annex III because it would establish a de facto black list as substances in Annex III would be considered harmful before a thorough scientific assessment is conducted.
The Council, comprised of Environmental Ministers from each Member State, is expected to adopt the changes within the next few weeks and the revised RoHS Directive will be published in the Official Journal sometime during the first half of 2011. The new obligations, summarized below, will apply 18 months later following transposition into Member States’ national legislation. For a more in-depth explanation of the agreed to changes, attend IPC’s webinar on the revised RoHS Directive, “A Whirlwind Update on the RoHS Directive Recast from Across the Pond” on Thursday, December 16th.
The main obligations agreed to are:
• No additional substances are restricted (added to Annex IV). The proposed Annex III, priority assessment list, is not included in the agreed-upon text. The Commission will review Annex IV within 3 years and may add additional substances.
• With a few exceptions, all electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) will be covered under the revised RoHS Directive.
• The dates that substance restrictions will apply to newly regulated equipment varies
• Exemptions specific to medical and monitoring and control instruments are listed in Annex VI. Exemptions will expire after a maximum of 5 years except for categories 8 and 9 which will expire in 7 years. Applications for renewal must be made 18 months before expiry to guarantee a decision from the Commission which must be within 6 months of expiry.
• A revised RoHS Directive will be a CE Mark Directive with obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors. These obligations will apply immediately for those products already in scope of RoHS (i.e. from 18 months after entry into force). For products currently excluded from RoHS CE marking obligations will apply in stages.