The RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU, or ‘RoHS2’ as it is sometimes called, is a CE marking Directive and is a European law. The various RoHS markings seen on different pieces of equipment, while not illegal and possibly informative, have no legal meaning or standing.
What does that mean?
The RoHS Directive is a CE marking Directive. This means that equipment within its scope must carry a CE marking if it is offered for sale or placed on the market in the EU. The CE marking is applied by the manufacturer (or Authorized Representative, if mandated) on the product. All CE marking Directives either indicate the parameters for the marking or direct the reader to Annex II of Regulation no. 765/2008/EC.
Regulation no. 765/2008/EC is one of three documents that outline the EU’s New Legislative Framework of 2008. The purpose of which was, “To improve the Internal Market for goods and strengthen the conditions for placing a wide range of products on the EU Market,…”.
All CE marking Directives also require that the product has a unique, traceable declaration of conformity. The declaration of conformity is mandated in Article 5 of Decision no. 768/2008/EC and detailed in each of the CE marking Directives. (768/2008/EC is one of the three documents that make up the New Legislative Framework). The declaration of conformity is a piece of paper that indicates information about the manufacturer and product, lists all of the applicable CE marking Directives, harmonized EN standards applied to prove conformity, and a statement that the product is in compliance and that the manufacturer (or Authorized Representative) takes responsibility for the compliance.
The RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU lists the declaration of conformity requirements in Annex VI.
The RoHS markings seen on many products are not mentioned or referenced anywhere, in any of the New Legislative Framework documents, or in the RoHS Directive itself. Below are some samples collected from a google search:
These markings are not illegal, but please note they hold no legal relevance.
The only legal marking, as pertains to RoHS and all CE marking Directives, is the CE marking. The CE marking on your product indicates that your product complies with all applicable CE marking Directives. That means your product must comply with any Directive that includes your product within its scope – and the relevant Directives must be indicated on the declaration of conformity for the product.
Your signature on the document is your legal claim that it does, and you may be pressed to prove this in a court in the EU, if challenged.
Before I end this article I want to point out that there is another “RoHS” which has its own markings: The Chinese RoHS. Chinese RoHS is concerned with the same six materials (four heavy metals and two flame retardants):
- Hexavalent Chromium
- PolybrominatedDiphenyls Ethers
The markings are similar as well, but not quite the same. The markings with numbers in the middle indicate the number of years until the restricted material leaks out of the product. This is not addressed in RoHS 2011/65/EU. See below the Chinese makings:
However, please note that Chinese RoHS is not equivalent to European RoHS compliance to 2011/65/EU.
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