Robert Straetz of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of EU Affairs in Washington, D.C., spoke to about 20 businesses Monday at a trade seminar held in the University Center on the University of Tennessee campus.
"Environmental issues have come to the forefront," Straetz
said."There's a concern about hazardous substances in products." The EU
allows "no risk" when it comes to the amount of substances electrical equipment and electronic products can contain, unlike the United States, which allows "little risk," Straetz
Substances to be limited include lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and cadmium.
Limiting those substances can be a problem for some companies because the substances may be instrumental to the manufacturing process.
For example, lead is necessary to solder some products.Now, Straetz
said, those companies may have to spend research money to find a substance to replace lead.
ROHS applies to large and small household appliances that are electrical or electronic, such as telecommunications, consumer products, lighting equipment (including light bulbs), tools, toys, leisure and sports products, and automatic dispensers.
The ROHS directive is effective July 1, 2006.
The WEEE directive, effective Aug. 13, requires companies to affix a WEEE insignia on their products because the EU
"doesn't want any unmarked products floating around Europe," Straetz