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Ensuring Compliance with RoHS, REACH, and Prop. 65 through Electronic Product Testing

Electronic product testing is essential to ensure electronic products’ safety and quality. Chemical testing verifies that the materials meet regulatory standards such as RoHS, REACH, and California Proposition 65 (Prop.65). In this article, we will explore the importance of electronic product testing and the various techniques and methods used to conduct these tests.

The Perks of Electronic Product Testing

Chemistry testing is a vital step in the manufacturing process to ensure that the materials used in these products are safe for consumer use and meet regulatory standards. Indeed, chemical testing is essential for verifying that the materials used in electronic products comply with regulations such as RoHS, REACH, and Prop. 65. These regulations limit the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic products and require manufacturers to demonstrate compliance through testing.

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Electronic Product Testing against RoHS

RoHS, or the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, is a European Union regulation that limits the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic products. These substances include:

  1. Lead
  2. Mercury
  3. Cadmium
  4. Hexavalent chromium
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs),
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).
  7. Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

To comply with RoHS, manufacturers must ensure that the products they produce do not contain more than the allowable limits of the restricted substances. Importantly, these limits are set at low levels to minimize the risk of exposure. For example, the limit for lead is 0.1% by weight, and cadmium’s limit is 0.01% by weight.

Electronic product testing

The directive applies to a wide range of products, including:

Manufacturers of electronic products sold in the EU must demonstrate compliance with RoHS. One method to accomplish this task is through chemical testing. Moreover, different regions worldwide have their version of RoHS. For example, there are China RoHS, J-Moss Japan RoHS, UK RoHS, and many others.

Electronic Product Testing against REACH


REACH, or the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals, is another chemical testing regulation for electronic products. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) oversees the regulation enforcement. In fact, this EU regulation requires manufacturers to evaluate and register the chemicals used in their products to ensure safety for human health and the environment. The SCIP database can accomplish this task. Of course, electronic product testing is a part of this process. It helps manufacturers to identify and quantify the chemicals used in their products and to demonstrate compliance with REACH requirements.

Electronic Product Testing against Prop.65

California Proposition 65

California Proposition 65 (Prop. 65), or the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, is a California state law requiring manufacturers to provide warnings on products that contain certain chemicals known to cause cancer, congenital abnormalities, or other reproductive harm. Additionally, electronic product testing is an essential part of Prop. 65 compliance. It helps manufacturers identify the presence of these chemicals in their products and to provide appropriate warnings to consumers.

Substances commonly at risk of violating RoHS, REACH and Prop 65 include heavy metal chemicals (e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium), halogenated flame retardants (e.g., PBDEs, PBBs), and certain types of phthalates.

Instruments and Methods used in Electronic Product Testing

RoHS testing lab

Various analytical techniques and instruments conduct electronic product testing. Some of the most used include:

  • spectrophotometers,
  • chromatographs, and
  • X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers.


It’s important to note that the specific instruments and methods used for chemical testing will depend on the requirements and characteristics of the sample. However, the most prevalent chemical techniques used to perform electronic product testing are below.

Understanding Spectrophotometry and Chromatography in Electronic Product Testing


Spectrophotometry measures the absorption, transmission, or reflectance of light. These instruments identify and quantify the presence of specific chemicals in each sample. For example, you can measure the concentration of a chemical in an electronic coating. These chemicals can be nickel, present in REACH Annex XVII, Prop.6, or even lead which is regulated in RoHS, REACH, and prop.65.

Chromatography separates and analyzes the components of a sample based on their physical and chemical properties. Several different types of chromatographs include:

  • Gas chromatography (GC)
  • Liquid chromatography (LC)
  • Ion chromatography (IC)
Electronic product testing


Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is particularly useful to quantify phthalates. This technique separates the components of a sample using gas chromatography and then uses mass spectrometry to identify and quantify the individual components. Also. you can detect and quantify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in electronic products. You can also detect trace amounts of halogenated flame retardants in electronic products. This would be useful to conduct electronic product testing against another regulation called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP).

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Analyzers and Wet Chemistry Techniques in Electronic Product Testing

XRF Analytical Testing

XRF analyzers identify and quantify the elements present in a sample. These instruments use X-ray fluorescence to excite the atoms in a sample and measure the characteristic wavelengths of light emitted. It can measure the concentration of a wide range of elements, including heavy metals. This technique can determine the composition of alloys and the concentration of lead in paint.

Wet Chemistry Techniques

Wet chemistry techniques use chemical reactions to identify and quantify specific substances in a sample. Examples include titrations and gravimetric analysis. For instance, titrations can detect the presence of an acid in a battery. This would be useful for electronic product testing against the Battery Directive. Moreover, gravimetric analysis can measure the amount of metal in a connector.


Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS)

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is a technique that uses the absorption of light by atoms in a sample to identify and quantify specific elements. Indeed, a sample will be atomized. The resulting atoms are then excited by a light source. Then, a detector will measure the light absorbed and relate it to the concentration of the elements. It is a technique to determine concentrations of heavy metals, non-metals, and rare earth metals. It is also not selective for a particular phase. Indeed, you may use liquid, solid, or gaseous samples. Moreover, it can verify compliance with regulations such as RoHS and REACH that limit the use of certain elements.

Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP) Techniques in Electronic Product Testing


Inductively coupled plasma (ICP) spectroscopy is a method that uses plasma to excite the atoms in a sample, and the light emitted is used to identify and quantify specific elements. It can verify compliance with regulations such as RoHS and REACH. However, it is much more powerful when combined with a mass spectrometer.


Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS): This technique uses a high-temperature plasma to atomize and ionize the sample. Then, it uses a mass spectrometer to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of the resulting ions. It is a technique with a wide dynamic range that can even detect trace levels of heavy metals. In fact, it detects elements with concentrations ranging from the low parts per billion (ppb) to parts per trillion (ppt). This is useful for electronic product testing against RoHS.

Electronic Product Testing instruments

Need to test your electronics against RoHS, REACH, or Prop.65 and you do not know where to start? Let Enviropass assist you and schedule a free consultation!