Guide

Design efficient electrical and electronic equipment

Design out hazardous substances from electrical and electronic equipment

You should design electrical and electronic equipment so that the use of hazardous substances is kept to a minimum.

Your products must comply with limits on the use of certain hazardous substances. Alternatives for these hazardous substances should be used where possible:

  • Lead - alloys based on tin-silver-copper (Sn-Ag-Cu) will probably be the first choice to replace lead solder. Tin-silver-bismuth (Sn-Ag-Bi) type alloys are likely to be used for surface mount consumer products and tin-copper (Sn-Cu) solders may be developed for wave soldering.
  • Mercury - most manufacturers phased out the use of mercury in these applications in the early 1990s. Today, there are drop-in replacements for these components which do not use mercury.
  • Cadmium - alternatives include tin and its alloys, zinc and its alloys, ion vapour deposition, nickel and epoxide.
  • Hexavalent chromium - where coatings are required, alternatives include zinc-based coatings and compounds, nickel-based coatings, copper, silver, modified primer or paint technologies.
  • Brominated flame retardants - flame retardants are added to polymers used in electrical and electronic products to ensure that they meet international standards. Halogen-free flame retardants include aluminium trioxide, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, phosphate esters, melamine derivatives and zinc borate.

For more information on the legal limits that apply, see restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS).