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RoHS Directive vs REACH Regulation

RoHS Directive vs REACH Regulation

RoHS and REACH legislation applies to goods imported, manufactured and used in the EU. What are the key differences and how does this apply to you?

Firstly, there are major differences between a regulation and a directive. A regulation is a legal act of the European Union that becomes immediately enforceable as law in all member states simultaneously. A directive is also a legal act, but requires member states to implement laws in order to achieve a particular result without dictating the means of achieving that result.

EU regulations means that the rules apply to all European Economic Area (EEA) countries equally while this may not be the case for directives.

What’s the difference in requirements?

Both pieces of legislation are designed to protect human health and the environment from hazardous substances. However, RoHS applies only to certain electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) while REACH covers a much wider range of products. Additionally, REACH controls much more substances of concern.

AcronymRoHS 2 (recast)REACH
LegislationDirective 2011/65/EURegulation 1907/2006
Short Name'restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment''Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals'
JurisdictionEuropean Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway
United Kingdom, during the Brexit transition period
European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway
United Kingdom, during the Brexit transition period
Date8 June 201118 December 2006
ScopeHazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE)All substances imported, manufactured or used, on their own, in mixtures or in articles
PurposeProtection of human health and the environmentProtection of human health and the environment
ActorsManufacturers, importers, distributors, authorised representativesManufacturers, importers, downstream users, distributors, only representatives
Key amendmentsDirective 2017/2102None
Related legislationDirective 2014/35/EU
Directive 2009/48/EC
Regulation 2016/9

What action should you take to maintain compliance?

If you plan to manufacture, import or use chemical substances on their own, in mixtures or in articles then it is imperative that you check your REACH requirements. If you are manufacturing or importing EEE then you need to check for RoHS obligations for each country and also REACH regulation requirements.

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Steven Brennan

Steven is a Regulatory Consultant and helps companies to maintain compliance with chemical regulations. He writes about REACH, RoHS and other environmental regulations in his spare time.

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