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Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS)

EU rules restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment to protect the environment and public health.


The amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated every year in the EU is increasing rapidly. It is now one of the fastest growing waste streams.

Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) contains hazardous substances. Since 2003, EU laws have restricted the use of these hazardous substances.


The rise in the production and use of electrical and electronic products, such as mobile phones, computers and kitchen appliances, has resulted in an increasing volume of electrical and electronic waste. During the use, collection, treatment and disposal of such waste, products may release harmful (hazardous) substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which can cause major environmental and health problems.

To address such challenges, EU laws restrict the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment through the RoHS Directive. In parallel, the WEEE Directive promotes the collection and recycling of such equipment.

The RoHS Directive currently restricts the use of ten substances: lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP).

All products with an electrical and electronic component, unless specifically excluded, have to comply with these restrictions.

In 2017, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal adjusting the scope of the RoHS Directive.

13 JANUARY 2021
FAQ key guidance document - RoHS


The RoHS Directive aims to prevent the risks posed to human health and the environment related to the management of electronic and electrical waste.

It does this by restricting the use of certain hazardous substances in EEE that can be substituted by safer alternatives. These restricted substances include heavy metals, flame retardants or plasticizers.

The Directive promotes the recyclability of EEE, as EEE and its components that have become waste contain fewer hazardous substances. At the same time, it ensures a level playing field for manufacturers and importers of EEE in the European market.


Delegated Directives amending RoHS Annexes

Restricted substances (Annex II)

Exemptions (Annex III and IV)




Information about the implementation of the RoHS Directive, including the exemption procedure, timeframe and assessment studies. 

Implementation of the RoHS Directive


Key dates related to the RoHS Directive

  1. 7 December 2023
    Review finalised and proposed targeted amendment of the RoHS Directive
  2. 10 March - 2 June 2022
    Commission launches public consultation of the review of the RoHS Directive
  3. 24 February 2022
    Commission publishes delegated acts ending use of mercury in lamps
  4. December 2021
    Commission adopts 12 Delegated Directives concerning exemptions for the use of mercury in lamps
  5. 15 November 2017
    RoHS Directive amended
  6. 02 January 2013
    Deadline for EU countries to transpose provisions of new RoHS Directive
  7. 21 July 2011
    New RoHS Directive enters into force
  8. 27 January 2003
    First RoHS Directive enters into force


On the RoHS 2 review

On the RoHS 2 scope review

On the review of the list of restricted substances

On the RoHS 1 review

Earlier studies

Related links

Main law: RoHS Directive

Entry into force: 21 July 2011

Related topics:  Chemicals Circular economy Waste and recycling WEEE

Related strategies: Chemicals strategy for sustainability Circular Economy Action Plan

Related Commission priorities: European Green Deal


For questions about EU environmental policy, please contact Europe Direct.

For questions on RoHS implementation or enforcement, please contact Member States authorities.

To purchase European Standards, contact the national members of the European Standardization Organisations.