The Swedish Chemicals Agency regularly checks electrical and electronic products. 71 products were examined in 2013. 14 of them did not meet the requirements of the legislation. Six products contained excessive levels of lead. Eight products had deficiencies in documentation and labelling.
The chemical substances that are limited in electronics according to the RoHS-directive are: lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and the flame retardants polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PDBE) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs).
An update of the RoHS Directive came into force on 2 January 2013 and new rules on labelling and documentation were introduced. Some of the products checked in 2013 were on the market before 2 January while others were released to the market later. Both RoHS 1 (2002/95/EC) and RoHS 2 ( 2011/65/EU ) products were thus under consideration to be checked in 2013.
Extra focus on hair dryers and curling irons
In 2013, a specific project examined hair dryers, curling irons and hair straighteners. The products were analysed to see if they contained regulated substances. Labelling and documentation were also checked.
Products that contain a high amount of a restricted substance are not allowed on the EU market. Of the six products that did not comply with the legislation regarding content of lead, three were reported to environmental prosecutors. The other three products had been brought into Sweden from another EU country and the responsible manufacturer was not a Swedish company. Three companies had to pay environmental penalty for the products with deficient labelling.
Primarily an environmental problem
Substances regulated under the RoHS Directive primarily become a waste problem that may affect the environment. These substances can also pose a health risk when the products are manufactured. Exposure to lead can cause harm to the nervous system.