The EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive: Problems arising from Implementation Differences between Member States and Proposed Solutions



Directive 2002/95/EC, the Restriction of Hazardous Substances or ‘RoHS’ Directive, restricts the use of environmentally hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment distributed and sold in the EU from 1 July 2006. The Directive's objectives are to harmonize EU Member States’ national legislation and protect human health and the environment. This article reveals differences in the implementation of the RoHS Directive at the time it took effect. Differences were revealed in the analysis of results obtained from telephone interviews conducted with all but four of the 25 EU Member State RoHS enforcement officials. Differences in implementation created barriers to the achievement of the RoHS Directive's objectives and caused problems for producers of electrical and electronic equipment. The article attributes the principal cause of differences in implementation to insufficiently detailed text in the RoHS Directive. The article also considers how barriers and problems could have been prevented and makes proposals to solve them.