What’s RoHS Compliance for Electronics Parts?

By Cathleen Shamieh

When you’re shopping around for electronics parts, you may see the term RoHS compliant next to some of the parts. The term RoHS (pronounced “ROW-haas”) refers to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances directive adopted in 2003 by the European Union (E.U.).

The RoHS directive, which took effect in 2006, restricts the placement on the E.U. market of new electrical and electronic devices that contain more than a specified level of lead and five other hazardous substances.

Companies producing consumer and industrial electronics need to worry about RoHS compliance if they want to sell products in E.U. countries (and China, which has its own RoHS specification), but if you are just tinkering around with electronics in your house, you need not worry about using lead-free solder and other RoHS-compliant parts. Just don’t let your cat munch on your solder.