RoHS and REACH Legislation

What is RoHS?

The RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) Directive 2002/95/EC came into force on 1st July 2006 and restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment within the European Market. Although it is also widely referred to as the ‘Lead Free Directive’, this is only one of the six restricted substances listed below:

Hazardous SubstanceAllowed PPM Level
Cadmium (Cd)100ppm (0.01%)
Lead (Pb)1000ppm (0.1%)
Mercury (Hg)1000ppm (0.1%)
Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI )1000ppm (0.1%)
Polybrominated Biphenyl’s (PBB’s)1000ppm (0.1%)
Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE’s)1000ppm (0.1%)

From 1st July 2006 any new electronic or electrical equipment sold in the EC must not contain these hazardous substances in excess of the permitted levels indicated above. However, the directive does allow provision for some specific exclusions such as lead in glass and ceramics, etc. Equipment used for military and medical purposes, together with monitoring and control instrumentation, are also exempt.

Further details on the RoHS Directive can be found through the National Measurement Office:


What is REACH?

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals) is the system for controlling chemicals in Europe. It became law in the UK on 1st June 2007.

Which businesses does it affect?

REACH will impact on almost all UK business sectors. From retailers to builders, food manufacturers to printers – most businesses use some form of chemicals in their day-to-day operations.

How might REACH affect you?

Even businesses that wouldn’t normally think of themselves as being involved with chemicals can be affected by it. Many businesses rely on chemicals in some way without realising it. If you answer ‘YES’ to any of the questions below, you need to find out more about REACH and what it means.

  • Do you make chemicals?
  • Do you buy anything from outside Europe?
  • Do you use chemicals in your business?
  • What does the Competent Authority do?

For further information and advice on what to do next, please visit where there are a number of “Bitesize” leaflets explaining the intricacies of the initiative.