Inter-institutional code COD/2008/0240
3 July 2009
RoHS Directive provisions on restrictions for new substances duplicate REACH, creating
further administrative burdens for no additional environmental or consumer benefit
One of the stated objectives of the Commission’s revision of RoHS Directive is to avoid duplication
and contradictions between RoHS and other pieces of legislation, such as REACH. However, in its
article 4(7) the current RoHS proposal clearly duplicates the REACH’s restrictions process.
We ask that Parliament and Council amend Article 4(7) and delete Annex III to ensure that existing
regulatory tools are used to restrict new substances in electronic and electrical goods. Such an
amendment would avoid the creation of an unnecessary administrative burden and potential
uncertainty for all concerned, while maintaining the same level of protection afforded by the
A. The proposal duplicates the process established by REACH and therefore only serves to add to
legal complexity and the administrative burden
REACH already provides a working regulatory process to restrict substances in all articles, including
those goods regulated by RoHS (REACH article 69). REACH takes into account the risks arising from
the entire life-cycle of substances including the waste phase of articles that contain the substance.
Under REACH, Member States and the European Chemicals Agency can propose and adopt
restrictions on substances in articles (including electrical and electronic equipment) when substances
pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment and there is a need to manage this
risk on a Community wide basis. Under RoHS only the Commission can propose such restrictions.
The proposal therefore potentially creates the unnecessary legislative and administrative duplication
of REACH processes. At a time when ECHA and Member State authorities are already struggling to
find the resources required for REACH restriction and authorisation implementation, it would appear
unwise to create additional administrative burdens for all concerned.
B. The proposal creates uncertainties regarding the process to restrict new substances in
electrical and electronic goods
The REACH criteria for restrictions are repeated verbatim in the proposal on RoHS (RoHS proposal
article 4, paragraph 7). However, the proposal seeks to establish a separate process to adopt
restrictions on substances in articles through an ill-defined and yet-to-be established comitology
The ambiguity in the Commission’s proposal creates a number of uncertainties. While the
Commission proposal refers to the use of a “methodology based on the process” set out in REACH
for assessing and restricting new substances, the proposal falls short of simply using the existing
process and expert bodies (ECHA) established under REACH to restrict substances in articles,
including electrical and electronic goods.
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ECPI – RoHS Directive proposal 3 July 2009
In a case where a substance needed to be restricted across a range of articles, including electronic
goods, it is unclear whether a restriction would proceed under RoHS (DG Environment lead) or
REACH restrictions (DG Enterprise lead). It is also unclear how far the already stretched REACH
bodies (the European Chemicals Agency, the Risk Assessment and Socio-Economic Committees)
would be involved in the process. Under the Commission proposal the comitology committee that
decides on the restrictions is the committee established under the Waste Framework Directive. RoHS
does not use the full breadth of chemical expertise available under REACH. As such, the separate
process and people involved may lead to different regulatory views at an EU level.
C. The proposal to assess the need to restrict DEHP underlines the unnecessary duplication
created by the Commission’s RoHS proposal
The proposal suggests that the substance DEHP should be assessed as a priority under the RoHS
Directive to establish whether a restriction under RoHS is required (Annex III). If such a review were
to take place under RoHS it would constitute the fifth review of DEHP in consumer goods, including
electrical and electronic equipment, conducted under European legislation in recent years.
1. DEHP was found to pose no risk to consumers or the environment from its presence in
electrical and electronic goods (due to its use in cable and wiring) in a 10 year long EU
assessment conducted under the Existing Substances Regulation. This assessment
included an examination of the risks associated from the end of life of articles containing
DEHP. These conclusions were published in the Official Journal as recently as 2008.
2. DEHP is currently undergoing a review of restrictions in articles under the terms of point
51 of Annex XVII of REACH.
3. DEHP is recommended as one of the first substances to undergo REACH authorisation.
As from mid-2012 producers will have to apply for authorisation from the European
Chemicals Agency to continue marketing the substance in Europe.
4. DEHP will be subject to a further review by the European Chemicals Agency the need for
restrictions of the substance in articles post-2012-2013 according to article 69(2) of
For further information:
Deputy Director, ECPI
+32 (0)475 37 66 93