RoHS Compliance for Fasteners: What It Is, Why It Matters
Everyday fasteners and fasteners are being tightened and torqued into a wide range of manufactured products, like electronics, medical devices, automobiles, aircrafts and more. One item that can often be overlooked with these fasteners is - "Are these fasteners RoHS compliant?"
What does that really mean? Why does it matter for your manufacturing chain? And how does this standard potentially impact the safety and well-being of millions of people around the world?
RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, a directive first adopted by the European Union in 2003 to regulate the environmental safety of materials used in electronics manufacturing. Ever since July of 2006, all fasteners sold to or used by any company within the European Union must meet RoHS compliance standards. Many other nations and states, including the state of California, have passed laws that require compliance with RoHS standards.
What does RoHS actually watch out for?
RoHS restricts heavy metals and other substances known to contaminate the ecosystem and endanger human health. These substances include cadmium, lead, mercury and other toxins. Each of these substances must weigh in under the tiny fractions allowed by RoHS, such as one hundred parts per million in the case of mercury. The hoped-for result is a cleaner, healthier world for everyone. While all makers and vendors of fasteners and other manufacturing components have supposedly been RoHS compliant for many years, you may have no idea how old those screws or bolts in your stockroom are or whether they were made and sold to you before the standards kicked in.
That's why you need to keep your fastener inventory current and make sure your supplier complies with RoHS, otherwise you may be breaking compliance with every product you assemble.