Jun 2 - Procrastination on RoHS Leaves Some Scrambling to Compete on Market

The effects of the EU RoHS Directive are far more reaching that just the 25 EU member states. Approximately 20% of China and India’s light bulb exports go to the EU, which is about a $93.7 million industry. However, industry has seen a delayed response to RoHS, mostly in part from the expenses to redesign products without the designated hazardous materials. Those lighting manufacturers that have responsibly taken the steps to conform to RoHS before the last minute (like some are struggling to do now, < one month before the effective date) are seeing an increase in production costs, but have the upper hand when it comes to establishing prices due to competitive edge. Global Sources reports:

As the EU's RoHS directive regulating the use of harmful substances comes into full force this month, the energy-saving bulb industries in mainland China, Taiwan and India have yet to become fully capable of complying with the ruling.

Despite the fact that the RoHS directive was adopted and issued by the EU three years ago, suppliers did not start preparing for the new requirements until last year. In fact, some are only just now beginning.

The main reason for the foot-dragging is the additional cost that compliance will entail. In order to meet the prescribed limits on lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium IV, PBB and PBDE content, manufacturers have to make adjustments in product design and manufacturing processes.

In the mainland, where only about 15 percent of suppliers can meet RoHS standards, design and manufacturing changes are predicted to jack up costs by an average of 20 percent.

Yet to remain competitive, makers cannot boost prices as much. This has prompted some companies that are not exporting significantly to the EU to altogether abandon the market and set their sights on other areas such as the US and Asia.

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In order to prevent any incompliant devices from being exported and ultimately purged in California, CAW is sponsoring AB 2202 (Saldaña), which will extend RoHS provisions here in California. AB 2202 will prohibit any electrical or electronic device that is not RoHS compliant in the EU from being sold in state. This measure recently passed off the Assembly Floor and will be heard next in the Senate.

What you can do:

• Send an e-mail to your Legislator asking for their ‘Yes’ vote on AB 2202
• Send in an AB 2202 support letter in behalf of your organization