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Sustainable Development & Foundation


Global Frequently asked questions




 1. What are the banned substances, and where are they found in EEE?

The following 6 substances are banned:
Lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDE).

These substances are used in Electrical and Electronic Equipment:
- Mercury: in thermostats, sensors, relays in switches and discharge lamps.
- Lead: solder in printed circuit boards, glass in cathode-ray tubes and electric light bulbs.
- Cadmium: switches, springs, connectors, housings and printed circuit boards. (see below for more details)
- Hexavalent chromium: Metal coatings for corrosion protection.
- Polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers: flame retardants in printed circuit boards, connectors and plastic covers.

Cadmium is used by industry for numerous applications :
- as an anti-binding agent (cadmium-plated parts have good lubricity);
- as an anti-corrosive agent (particularly to protect connectors and fixings in conditions where electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is a critical issue;
- as pigments and stabilisers in paints and plastics;
- as solders.

 2. What are the thresholds below which it can be considered that a product complies with the RoHS directive?

The thresholds to be allowed for are 0.1% by weight for lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and PBBs and PBDEs. It is 0.01% by weight for cadmium, the homogeneous material in which the substance is located.