Definitions

In an effort to reduce the use of hazardous material in electronic equipment as well as allow for additional recycling opportunities for these products, in 2003 the European Union (EU) implemented a Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and a directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).  In June of 2007, the EU formally instituted REACH regulations  controlling chemicals in Europe.

RoHS  (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)
RoHS is the European Union's Directive 2002/95/EC of January 27, 2003, regarding the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The directive compels members of the EU to write and implement legislation that supports the directive. EU members must be compliant no later than July 1, 2006. The directive limits the allowable amounts of six hazardous substances in EEE products marketed in the EU. These substances are lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, certain brominated flame retardants (PBBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). Nothing in recent history has challenged the distribution of electronic components more than the European Union's directive on this restriction of hazardous substances.

2002/95/EC of January 27, 2003 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS)

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment)
WEEE represents the EU Directive 2002/96/EC of January 27, 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and is aimed at reducing the hazardous material content in electronic products as well as increasing recycling efforts for these products.

2002/96/EC of January 27, 2003 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals)
REACH is an expansive set of European Union regulations that affects all industries doing business in the EU. It basically puts the responsibility for chemical safety on the manufacturers of those chemicals, and brings the EU under one unified set of regulations. An important objective of these regulations is to encourage, and in certain situations, ensure chemicals of high concern are replaced with less dangerous chemicals or eliminated.

Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 18, 2006 on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)