On December 17, 2014, the European Commission notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it will be adding four additional substances to the EU RoHS Directive (2011/65/EU). This will be done as a Delegated Directive amending Annex II (list of restricted substances) of the RoHS Directive.
Article 6(3) of the Directive requires the European Commission to periodically review and update the list of restricted substances. The review of potential substances for restriction has been underway for the past two years and culminates with publication of the Delegated Directive in the Official Journal of the European Union — which is expected in February or March 2015.
Four phthalate substances will be added to the RoHS substance restrictions (see table below). Phthalates are primarily used as plasticizers in plastics, particularly in PVC plastic which is commonly used for wires and cables but can also be found on some electronic components or other plastic parts. Total elimination of the use of phthalates from EEE products will be significant work for industry and the supply chain. The restrictions take effect beginning on July 22, 2019 for all EEE except category 8 (medical devices) and category 9 (monitoring and control instruments) which will have an additional 2 years to transition and need to comply by July 22, 2021. This provides most EEE manufacturers and the global supply chain with four and a half years to prepare.
*See Table #1
The maximum concentration value for the phthalates will be 0.1% w/w in homogeneous material. This is same threshold as most other RoHS restricted substances.
The four phthalates are already listed on the REACH SVHC Candidate List — this gives manufacturers that have REACH SVHC information from their suppliers a head start in assessing the parts and materials that require substitution. However, the different basis for calculating concentration level between REACH and RoHS (article vs. homogeneous material) will undoubtedly create some surprises.
Additional information on the new restricted substances, RoHS 2 compliance and RoHS 2 Technical Documentation is available at: http://blog.rohs.ca