Restriction of hazardous substances

This article outlines the legislation involved in the restriction of certain hazardous substances, and the steps to follow for manufacturers and imports of these substances.

The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/3032) (RoHS Regulations 2012) came into force on 2 January 2013 and transposed EC Directive (2011/65/EU).

The aim of the Directive is minimize the amount of potentially hazardous substances ending up in landfill sites and being present in recycling processes, by restricting the amount in the manufacture of a wide range of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE).  The restricted substances are lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).The parts and components of the specified EEE must not contain more than the specified concentrations of these substances.


The Regulations apply to businesses who: 

  • manufacture or assemble EEE in the UK
  • import EEE from outside Europe
  • rebadge EEE as their own

The current basis for compliance is self-declaration of conformity with producers preparing and maintaining sufficient technical documentation to demonstrate compliance.  

Technical documentation must be retained for a period of 10 years after the product is first placed on the market and submitted on request to the enforcement authority.

UK system for RoHS

RoHS remains a reserved matter and the responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations lies with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), who has appointed the National Measurement Office (NMO).

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