Exemptions to the use of RoHS restricted substances are time limited. The deadline for requesting renewal of Annex III and Annex IV exemptions from the RoHS Directive’s substance restrictions, to guarantee continued validity until a Commission Decision is published, is 18 months before the expiry dates. For many exemptions, the expiry date is 21st July 2021, so the latest submission date was 20th January 2020.
The European Commission (EC) has made available the full list of exemption requests submitted to the Commission between November 2019 and January 2020 as well as a table providing an overview of Annex III and IV exemptions, including their validity status and submitted exemption requests. The following provides a short summary of the exemptions submitted.
According to the EC’s “RoHS 2 exemptions-Validity and rolling plan” there are now 57 Annex III exemptions which have been requested for renewal, of which 38 of these have had renewal requests submitted between November 2019 and January 2020. In comparison there 25 exemptions that are currently valid but are no longer renewable as no renewal requests were received >18 months before the expiry dates. The Commission’s summary table shows which exemptions are no longer renewable and for which RoHS categories. For some exemptions, no renewal requests have been received, but most Annex III exemptions are no longer renewable only for certain categories, because renewal requests have been submitted only for some RoHS categories. For some of the lighting exemptions, for example exemption 4e, according to the EC’s table, a renewal request has so far been received that covers only categories 1 – 7 and 10. As no request has been received for category ‘8 and 9 other than in vitro and industrial’ it is now not possible to renew 4e for these subcategories as there is less than 18 months before expiry, although it is not too late for category 8 in vitro, category 9 industrial or category 11 as these have later expiry dates.
The exemption requests in Annex III are predominated from two applicants; Lighting Europe and the Umbrella Project, with other applicants submitting one or two applications on specific exemption requests. Lighting Europe submitted the following requests: 1(a, b, c ,e, g), 1f, 2(a)1, 2(a)2, 2(a)3, 2(a)4, 2(a)5, 2(b)3, 2(b)4, 3(a-c), 4a, 4(b)-1, 4(c)-I-III, 4(e), 4(f), 5(b), 18(b) and 18(b)-I. The Umbrella Project, a consortium of currently 67 trade associations, have submitted a number of exemption requests: 6(a), 6(a)-I, 6(b)-I, 6(b)-II, 6(c), 7(a), 7(c)-I, 7(c)-II, 8(b), 8(b)-I, 15, 15(a) and 34. Of particular note is exemption 6(b)-I where the applied for lead content of aluminium differs between exemption applications, with 0.3% by weight requested by European Aluminium and 0.4% by weight requested by the Umbrella Project.
According to the EC’s “RoHS 2 exemptions-Validity and rolling plan” there are now 24 Annex IV exemptions which have been requested for renewal, of which 19 of these were submitted between November 2019 and January 2020. In comparison there are 26 exemptions that are valid but no longer renewable (as expiry is less than 18 months). The main applicant for the exemptions requested in Annex IV is COCIR (European Trade Association representing the medical imaging, radiotherapy, health ICT and electromedical industries), followed by JBCE (Japan Business Council in Europe).
The next step in the process is for the exemption requests to be reviewed by the EC’s consultants, with clarification questions posed to the applicants.