Last reviewed 22 February 2021

The Government has published guidance on how exemptions may be granted for manufacturers, importers or distributers of electrical and electronic equipment if their use of the restricted hazardous substances (RoHS) meets one or more of the criteria.

The RoHS regulation defines various chemical substances that may not be used in electrical and electronic equipment, and includes substances such as cadmium, lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and a series of phthalates and polybrominated biphenyls.

Exemptions may be granted if the restricted substance is listed in the exemptions criteria in Tables 1 and 2 of the Hazardous Substances and Packaging (Legislative Functions and Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 and one or more of the following criteria applies.

  • The use of the restricted substance will not weaken environment and health protection provided by REACH.

  • Substitutes for a restricted substance are not scientifically or technically practicable or reliable.

  • The negative social, health and consumer impacts of substitute are greater than the benefits.

When applying, include:

  • test results on the suitability of substitutes and any other technical and scientific documentation*

  • a life cycle assessment carried out according to ISO 14040, ISO 14044, including a product carbon footprint and cost benefit analysis*

  • roadmaps for further technical development of RoHS regulation compliant substitute applications

  • REACH-relevant documentation such as registrations or applications for authorisation

  • documents from suppliers on the availability or non-availability of substitutes

  • socio-economic data in as much detail as possible

* If possible and available, these documents should be third party certified.

Complete the exemption form and send with supporting documents to rohs@defra.gov.uk no later than 18 months before the substance you are applying for an exemption for comes under scope of the RoHS regulations.