The Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment 2002/95/EC; commonly referred to as the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive or RoHS)
RoHS is part of a growing wave of environmental regulations or green initiatives. In addition to RoHS for Europe, there are similar regulations being written in China and other Asian nations. The RoHS directive requires that six hazardous substances be removed from all electrical and electronic equipment. The substances may be present incidentally at certain levels as long as they are declared. The six substances are Cadmium (Cd), hexavalent Chromium (CR VI), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).
There are some exemptions are declared in the RoHS annex, such as Hg in fluorescent lamps, Pb in certain alloys, and Pb in solder for servers (until 2010). All the details are in the RoHS directive text, with discussion and explanation in the dti RoHS guidance notes.
The immediate repercussions of non-compliance include serious fines, damaged brand reputations and even potential jail time.