California RoHS: It's back….

January 18, 2007 in Latest, News Leave a reply

California RoHS is alive and well

The new 2007-08 California legislative session opened on December 4, 2006, and on opening day, Lori Saldana filed Assembly Bill 48, which would establish comprehensive RoHS-like legislation in California.
AB 48 would change the definition of electronic device in the California Health and Safety Code to mirror the language in the EU RoHS directive.
This is a substantial expansion of the current definition which includes video display devices only.
January 1, 2010 would be the effective date for the expanded RoHS law.

The California RoHS directive will now be defined to include Directive 2002/95/EC, as well as subsequent amendments and decisions by the EU Technical Adaptation Committee.  California wants to mirror the RoHS directive in Europe as it continues to evolve.
There are differences between EU RoHS and the proposed California RoHS, specifically in what substances are prohibited. The RoHS directive restricts the use of four heavy metals and two flame retardants. AB 48 would only prohibit products "due to the presence of certain heavy metals," that is, lead, mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium

Unlike Europe, California would not restrict the use of the flame retardants PBB and PBDE.

In order to avoid conflicts with UL Certification, there are exemptions for electronic devices that contain substances used to comply with consumer, health or safety requirements required by Underwriters Laboratories or government regulations.  EU RoHS has similar provisions; however, the "governmental" requirements would be those of the United States and California.
The proposed AB 48 includes five new provisions that were not included in last session’s AB 2202:
  • Large Scale Stationary Tools are exempt.  There are specific exclusions for fixed installations that are hard-wired into the electrical or mechanical systems of a structure. Only portable devices that connect to a electrical source by means of a plug would be covered. The meaning of "large-scale stationary industrial tools" is still ambiguous in EU RoHS.
  • Twenty-four month grace period for electronic devices that lose their EU RoHS exemption. Such electronic devices "shall not be prohibited from sale in [California] until at least 24 months after the effective date of prohibition in the EU.
  • "Exemptions galore. There is a new process for securing exemptions or time extensions from the state of California. The criteria for such exemptions and time extensions would be developed in consultation with manufacturers, distributors and environmental groups.
  • Used devices are exempt.  There are exemptions for devices that are refurbished or sold for reuse.  A similar provision in EU RoHS requires that the equipment be placed on the market before 7/1/06, but there is no such time limitation in AB 48.
  • Spare parts are exempt.  There is a specific exemption for spare parts used to repair and extend the lifetime of electronic devices.
Protect yourself...With new RoHS directives appearing all the time, there is only one cost effective way to protect your market share.

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