What Different Hazardous Substances have been prohibited by RoHS?

On July 1st, 2006, the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive went into effect. Producers of eight different classes of electronic and electrical equipment have been prohibited from putting products containing six “banned” compounds on the market as of this date unless certain exceptions are applied that should be Enviropass RoHS compliant.

  1. Lead – (Pb)

The Romans employed lead to sweeten wine and make water pipes, both of which result in lead poisoning, which is today known to cause blindness, mania, and eventually death. Lead is poisonous, possibly carcinogenic, and mutagenic. Lead builds up in the body after being consumed or absorbed in small amounts, generating several negative effects.

  1. Mercury – (Hg)

Additionally highly poisonous, mutagenic, and possibly carcinogenic is mercury. Electrical equipment only uses extremely small amounts, thus harmful effects are much less likely than with lead and cadmium. Inhaling mercury vapor causes it to build up in soil and water, which affects not only the employees but also the local people. Although a more recent study has revealed that deforestation may also be to blame.

  1. Hexavalent Chromium – (Cr(VI))

When breathed, hexavalent chromium is poisonous and known to cause cancer. It might also cause cancer if consumed; however, this is less definite. Hexavalent chromium techniques that use solutions comprising these substances (chromates) used for metal passivation and hard chromium plating pose the greatest danger. Boiler water is also treated with hexavalent chromium to prevent corrosion. If wastes are not adequately disposed of and end up in water supplies, both local inhabitants and workers confronted with chromates have been in danger.

  1. Cadmium – (Cd)

Due to the high toxicity of cadmium, smaller levels of ingestion and inhalation have resulted in worker fatalities and severe illnesses. Kidney failure and damage from cadmium exposure are the main effects. It damages the circulatory tract and leads to bone disease at greater doses. Additionally, cadmium is a mutagen and carcinogen. Cadmium is typically found in food in low amounts since it is absorbed by plants and soil.

  1. Polybrominated biphenyl flame retardants – (PBB)

Even though polybrominated biphenyls are hazardous, there haven’t been many reports of significant sickness. The most well-known instance took place in Michigan, USA, where a bag of PBB was accidentally used in place of a feed supplement for cattle. Along with other animals, many cattle contracted illnesses, and some of them even passed away, but people who drank tainted milk and other goods also fell ill.

  1. Polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants – (PBDE)

A category of flame retardants called PBDE contains certain dangerous chemicals, although none of them have been directly linked to any illnesses or environmental damage. Extensive testing has revealed that Decabromodiphenyl ether is not toxic to humans and may not have harmed the environment, in contrast to some compounds, such as pentabromodiphenyl ether, which are harmful substances.

By Clare Louise
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