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How to comply with European standards for hazardous materials

Resources | November 1, 2009 | By:

I’m making a bag strap for a customer in Europe and am told that it has to be made of materials that are ROHS compliant and are certified as such. What does that mean?

Most countries have a list of restricted substances. The European Union adopted the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive in 2003, and it went into effect in 2006. RoHS restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. Some of the chemicals it restricts are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). We’re not exactly sure why your customer is asking for RoHS certification, unless perhaps the strap is attached to a piece of electronic equipment. In either case, your supplier should be able to verify the RoHS certification. Each country in Europe has its own enforcement and implementation.

It’s also possible that your customer meant to ask for REACH certification, since it directly cites textiles. REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemical substances, and took effect in July 2007. REACH is enforced through the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

SOURCE European Chemicals Agency

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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