What is the RoHS Directive?

The RoHS Directive stands for "the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment". This Directive bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of six substances - among which there are two families of brominated flame retardants:polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) flame retardants. The RoHS Directive came into force on 1 July 2006 (2002/95/EC).

The European Union is currently reviewing the RoHS Directive. The European Commission has issued a proposal which is being considered by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

The Parliament's Environment Committee (ENVI) voted on amendments to the Commission's proposal in June 2010. In parallel, the Council meets regularly to discuss amendments to the Commission proposal and is scheduled to propose a text (political agreement) in either September or October 2010.

If the above timing is respected, between October 2010 and January 2011, the Parliament and the Council will together review their amendments to the Commission proposal with a view to agreeing on a final text, i.e. the updated RoHS Directive.