RoHS Testing

European Directive 2002/95/EC, also known as the Restriction of (certain) Hazardous Substances or the RoHS Directive, was published in February of 2003.  The RoHS Directive essentially states that electrical and electronic products put on the market within the EU shall not contain lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) after July 1, 2006.

RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU (RoHS 2) was made into law as of January 2, 2013.  This document expanded the categories of devices that must be compliant. Additional categories of devices are slated to be included in RoHS 2 over the next several years, including a wide array of electronic medical devices and industrial monitoring and control instruments.

IMR Test Labs in Ithaca, NY has been involved in RoHS testing almost from day one, working with clients to first understand the impact of these directives and then developing sound, sensible methods to comply with them. We have been active at many levels of industry, trade, and government to be certain that a voice of the practical application of chemistry principles was heard and adhered to. We are also involved in the development of international standards and reference materials for the harmonization of Declarable Substance testing.

IMR offers comprehensive RoHS testing for restricted and declarable substances using proven, well developed methods to get you accurate answers. Our goal is to get you the RoHS certification you need in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  We are prepared to handle individual or multiple-component samples quickly and accurately.

Learn more about choosing a lab and more specifics on RoHS testing in our paper on choosing a competent laboratory The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Regarding RoHS Testing.

We also offer other hazardous substance testing including arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), beryllium (Be), cyanide (CN) and more.  

Learn more about RoHS testing at IMR below or request a quote today.

What You Need to Know

What Materials have to be tested according to RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU?

Each and every theoretically separable material must be tested individually according to the RoHS directive. This includes rivets, screws, solder, wires, wire jackets, plating and more. If you cannot provide a drawing & photo, usually the best option is to send us a sample to tear down and then we can prepare an accurate quote for you.

For specific information about which types of devices need to be tested, please see this FAQ about RoHS 2 from the European Commission.

What is RoHS testing looking for?

RoHS testing requires analysis of cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr+6), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE).

What methods do you use for testing?  

We offer mercury testing via Direct Mercury Analyzer (DMA).

We test cadmium, chromium and lead via ICP analysis. 

Hexavlent chromium (Cr+6) cannot exist in a higher percentage than chromium, so this is a less expensive way of analyzing for this element of concern. If chromium is present and over the RoHS MCV, we can test for hexavalent chromium via UV-VIS spectroscopy to verify the actual percentage of Cr+6.

We test for bromine via Ion Chromatography (IC). We are not setup to specifically test for PBB and PBDE (brominated compounds), but those compounds cannot exist in a higher concentration than bromine, so IC testing is generally sufficient. If your sample fails for bromine, we recommend contacting your supplier to find out which brominated compounds were used.  

HOW MUCH MATERIAL DO YOU NEED FOR ROHS TESTING?

For quantitative analysis, an ideal sample size for each material is a minimum of 5 grams.  

This can be difficult to achieve with very small, hard to separate or plated samples. In some cases it may take hundreds of samples to get a proper sample mass, which can be prohibitive. In that case, we recommend contacting your supplier to see if compliance testing has already been performed and they may be able to provide you a certification.

Are you accredited?

Yes. IMR Test Labs in New York is A2LA (IEC/ISO 17025) accredited for RoHS Testing to IEC 62321.  See page 2 of our A2LA cert #1140.02.  You can always find the most up-to-date versions of our certifications on our accreditations page.

What if I don't need full RoHS quantitative analysis?

We also offer XRF screening which is an inexpensive semi-quantitative analysis. Samples can be roughly broken down to try to narrow down what is being tested, but like the grind test discussed below, in many cases it's still a snapshot of multiple materials. This is especially true for plated materials.

This type of test only offers a pass/fail/inconclusive result.  Anything that fails or is inconclusive would need to be tested via ICP analysis to provide an RoHS compliance statement.  IMR will issue the report and then you can request the more in-depth analysis.  

Due to the higher price of ICP testing, we do not automatically do this without your approval and a purchase order to cover the additional work.

What if I think my suppliers are already providing RoHS compliant materials?

Always check with your suppliers first. If you have a reasonable degree of confidence in your suppliers that they are providing you with compliant materials, we can offer a “grind” test, where the sample is put through a grinder to create a single “homogenized” sample for analysis.  

The main positive to a grind test is that a complex sample is tested as a single material, and quantitative results are reported, although compliance can not be stated, and the RoHS requirements would be given only for your reference.

The major drawbacks are:

  • If a restricted substance is detected it would be impossible to identify exactly where it came from.
  • In addition there could be a component that contains a restricted material, and the result may be diluted by the other materials in the sample. Any positive result for a restricted material should be cause for concern in a sample that was ground, even if the value is significantly below the RoHS MCV.

Contact us today to request a quote for RoHS Testing.  We look forward to working with you.