Sept 21 - Industry Calls for U.S. RoHs Initiative

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) Online reports that members of SMT in the US want the Federal Government to establish a national RoHs standard, like the one already in place in the European Union that requires all new computers, appliances, and telecommunication devices sold in the EU to be free of hazardous substances including lead, mercury, and cadmium.

Paul Tallentire, president of Newark InOne, and others argue that creating a national standard is necessary in order to avoid a patchwork of differing state regulations.

California already requires makers of computer monitors, TV's and other video display devices to meet EU RoHS standards (under SB 20). Earlier this year, CAW sponsored AB 2202 (Saldaña), legislation that would have established a RoHS like phase out of toxic materials in virtually all electronics. The legislation passed the State Assembly and a Senate policy committee, but was stalled in the Senate fiscal committee. CAW and Assembly Member Saldaña have pledged to reintroduce the legislation in January.

CHICAGO — While European Union (EU) member states adjust to RoHS Directive guidelines, many members of the SMT industry in the U.S. are calling for similar standards domestically. South Korea and China anticipate implementing national RoHS Directives as a way to maintain national corporate competitiveness for exports to the EU. Whether influenced by environmental concerns, component availability issues, global trends, or simply a desire to see laws on manufacturing and disposal standardized across all 50 states, several government, consumer, and industry groups have put forth proposals for RoHS- and WEEE-based documents in the U.S.

Paul Tallentire, president of Newark InOne, attests that standards similar to RoHS and WEEE enacted in various U.S. states are creating problems for manufacturers and distributors of electronics. Tallentire sees the cost factor involved in tracking and satisfying so many different sets of restrictions as daunting, and believes U.S. regulations on hazardous materials must be created at the federal level. Newark InOne is polling industry members on its Website for their stance on federal RoHS and WEEE laws.

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