The Importance of RoHS to US Manufacturers

ROHS compliant stamp on brown paper

What is the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) regulation – and what does it mean for you?

The fact is, if you manufacture, import, export or rebrand goods covered by the regulation, it’s vital the products you sell or export don’t contain more than a permitted level of hazardous substances.

RoHS, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, originated in the European Union. Its purpose is to restrict the use of specific hazardous materials in electrical and electronic products. These materials are known as EEE, and the regulation came into effect back in 2006.

Today, many household appliances and consumer electronics must pass RoHS compliance, owing to the materials used to manufacture them. European Union (EU) regulations are designed to facilitate trade and promote competition within the 35-nation bloc. And US companies are about to restrict what US makers of electrical and electronic equipment can include in their products.

Download free CADs and try before you buy

Free CADs are available for most solutions, which you can download. You can also request free samples to make sure you’ve chosen exactly what you need. If you’re not quite sure which solution will work best for your application, our experts are always happy to advise you.

Whatever your requirements, you can depend on fast despatch. Request your free samples or download free CADs now.


Email us at or speak to one of our experts for further information on the ideal solution for your application 800-847-0486.

Close up of a red circuit board

California and RoHS

There are no federal restrictions in the US, but California has its own RoHS laws. These are set out in Health and Safety Code sections 25214.9-25214.10.2 and the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, section 66260.202 and the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC). Covered electronic devices sold in the state must meet the same requirements as those in the European Union’s RoHS legislation. The regulations prohibit a covered electronic device being offered for sale in California if the device is prohibited for sale in the EU. This is due to the presence of heavy metals, with these regulations coming into effect back in January 2007.

Restricted materials include:

  • Lead (Pb)
  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Hexavalent chromium (CrVI)
  • Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)
  • Phthalates (DEHP, BBP, BBP, DIBP)

Are you affected?

The directive on the restriction on the use of hazardous substances affects manufacturers of everything from toasters to laptops, lighting equipment and refrigerators. It’s about awareness. Anybody who is selling products, importing, exporting or distributing in EU states must follow these regulations.

More than that, though, manufacturers need to identify the hazardous substances in their products, finding suitable alternatives, where possible. If this can’t be achieved, they must check for exemptions from the rules – or apply for them. Manufacturers must also insist that suppliers certify the components they provide comply with the stringent regulations. To verify RoHS compliance, manufacturers can obtain certification from independent testing centers and labs within the U.S.

The bottom line is this: if you’re a business that sells EEE products, sub-assemblies, components or cables directly to EU countries, you’ll need to adhere to RoHS. This is also the case if you sell to resellers, distributors or integrators, who will then go on to sell these products to EU countries.

Know, too, that China has adopted RoHS and South Korea adheres to a voluntary RoHS compliance program. While RoHS laws may not be global, most countries trade with those nations that have adopted similar programs.

Can you get RoHS components in the U.S.?

Yes. A range of 2:1 heat shrink tubing sizes are available here in different colors and clear, certified as RoHS compliant. You can also get 3:1 tubing and nylon cable ties.

Different door latch types, including industrial door latches, are available in the U.S. too. For example, you can easily find an electrical panel lock or heavy duty door latch certified as RoHS compliant. Essentra carries all of these,. You’ll find different types of locks and many types of latches certified as RoHS compliant, including locks for cabinet doors, from a spring loaded latch to a stainless steel cam lock.

These are just some examples of Essentra Components' RoHS-compliant locks and latches:

You’ll find more in Essentra’s catalog, which you can download or order. A panel latch, a cabinet latch lock, swinghandles, a cam lock for cabinets – whatever the RoHS-compliant door lock latch in the finish you need, chances are you’ll find it here.

Engineer inspecting an industrial door latch ready for installation on a generator

What about other regulations?

Some states have their own regulations, so selling within the U.S. still requires manufacturers to work to those standards.

In New Jersey, the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (NJAC 13:1E-99.94 et seq.) prohibits the sale of new covered electronic devices, if the device is prohibited from being sold or offered for sale in the EU due to it exceeding the maximum value of one or more heavy metals under RoHS. E-cycle New Jersey offers registration forms and more details.

Meanwhile, in Illinois, the Electronic Products Recycling and Reuse Act requires anyone who manufactures computers, computer monitors, printers, televisions and other electrical devices to submit a registration. This should feature a statement that discloses whether any of the products they sell in the state exceed the maximum concentration values established for certain hazardous substances in the RoHS.

In Indiana, code 13-20.5-1-1 requires manufacturers to disclose on its registration form if video display devices sold by the manufacturer to households exceed the maximum concentration values established for certain substances, while the Minnesota Statute Chapter 115A.13142 requires that manufacturers also submit a registration form.

The Electronic Equipment Recycling And Reuse Law in New York requires manufactures of covered devices to submit a similar registration, with detailed instructions and guidance for the E-waste Online Registration and Reporting System available to view online.

Rhode Island’s Electronic Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling Act lays out some advice for manufacturers in the area, while in Wisconsin, the Statute Chapter 287.17 prohibits manufacturers from selling covered electronic devices to a household or school unless they register with the state.

How are products tested?

X-ray fluorescence or XRF metal analyzers are the tools of choice with regards to the screening and verification of restricted materials – and these can be purchased or rented, if required.

Different testing is needed, though, to ascertain the levels of these compounds (which are extracted with a solvent) since the arrival of RoHS 3 and the four added phthalates. In the metal industry specifically, RoHS applies to any application of metal plating, chromating or anodizing – or indeed other finishes on EEE components. These can include heatsinks or connectors.

Worker inspecting an electrical panel lock

What are the risks?

Don’t abide by the regulations and the penalties are strict. Enforced by bodies such as the NMO (National Measurements Office), they vary considerably between EU counties but usually include fines, alongside imprisonment in some member states.

What to do next: some advice for your workplace

Manufacturers can begin by ensuring their workforce is up to speed on the restrictions – and is aware how they comply as an individual. Even mobile devices and digital systems come with their own set of regulations, says RoHS guide, and manufacturers need to invest in software that not only meets their needs but reduces their risk. The Workplace Training Software for RoHS offers quotes on software to help your business get ahead.

Those who don’t make steps to become compliant can see their bottom line affected as a result of how well their workforce, suppliers and customers are trained. By training and reskilling everyone in your supply chain, you’re holding individuals accountable and significantly reducing your risk.

Given that regulation is constantly evolving, training practices need to be updated regularly, too. Consider a learning management system (LMS) and create customizable courses with your own requirements and workforce in mind.

If you’re aware a specific product isn’t compliant, it’s important you notify Market Surveillance Authorities (MSAs), inform the supply chain, take remedial action, and keep a register of non-conformities. You can also use as a resource for guidance.