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It is a question I often receive from manufacturers of electrical or electronic equipment. Can I request RoHS3 exemptions for my device?

Exemption or Exclusion from the RoHS Scope?

Excluded from RoHS

Your product may be entirely out of the RoHS scope. How do you find out?

RoHS Exemption Request

Excluded from RoHS

As a manufacturer, you must refer to the RoHS regulation itself. For example, article 2 of the European Union (EU) Directive 2011/65/EU lists various exclusions from RoHS, such as:

  • Military equipment;
  • Aerospace equipment;
  • Most automotive equipment;
  • Large-scale stationary industrial tools and large-scale fixed installations;
  • Products still under research & development;
  • A few medical devices;
  • Photovoltaic panels;
  • Equipment specifically designed to be part of an excluded product.
RoHS excluded aerospace equipment

You also need to pay attention to the RoHS definitions in article 3 of EU RoHS. For example, what does ‘making available on the market‘ entail?

Other than EU RoHS regulations have narrower scopes, like India RoHSEnviropass can assess your products and verify whether they are out of the RoHS scope. 

Difference between a RoHS Exclusion and an Exemption

If your product is out of scope, then RoHS does not apply at all, and you don’t have to look after exemptions. However, if your product falls under the RoHS scope, at least partially, then exemptions may apply to specific applications within your device.

What is a RoHS3 Exemption?

RoHS restricts the concentration of various hazardous substances contained in electrical and electronic equipment:

  • Lead and its compounds – 0.1%
  • Mercury and its compounds – 0.1%
  • Cadmium and its compounds – 0.01%
  • Hexavalent chromium and its compounds – 0.1%
  • Two brominated chemical families (PBBs and PBDEs) – 0.1%
  • Four phthalates (BBP, DBP, DEHP, and DIPB) – 0.1%

However, some materials and applications may need these substances above the general threshold for technical reasons. It is the case for example of lead compounds in some brass alloys, glasses, or fuses.

Enviropass maintains the current list of EU RoHS3 exemptions. In total, there are 40ish general EU RoHS exemptions. Another list of exemptions applies to monitoring and control instruments and medical devices.

RoHS3 Exemptions Regularly Revised

Exemptions are authorized under certain conditions when it is impossible to avoid the use of RoHS substances for scientific and technical reasons. However, as science progresses, the intent is to get rid of these exemptions.

As a result, exemptions are revised by default every five years, per article 5 of Directive 2011/65/EU. Nevertheless, they can be modified at any time by the European Commission. Exemptions are either prolonged, modified, split, or set to expire. This is why it is crucial, as a manufacturer, to monitor the current exemptions and make sure your products still benefit from valid ones.

The Procedure to Claim an Additional RoHS3 Exemptions

Let’s say your product is RoHS compliant except for one part. Can you request a specific exemption for that part?

The quick answer is yes. However, you need to demonstrate that an EU RoHS exemption is inevitable to make the product available on the market.

EU RoHS Exemption Procedure

RoHS Exemption Request - Procedure

In the European Union, the applicant must submit a comprehensive dossier to the European Commission. Such dossier includes:

  • Scientific/technical test report on possible substitutes, performed by a third party;
  • EU REACH data;
  • Suppliers’ information on the substitutes;
  • Socio-economic information. Are the candidate substitutes available on the market?
  • Any other relevant documents.

The whole evaluation process typically takes 18 to 24 months. Be ready to answer questions from the European Commission!

UK RoHS and Exemptions


Since the Brexit, the UK has its exemption validation process, separately from the EU.

As a result, if you plan on selling your products in the EU and the UK, you must request exemptions from both jurisdictions. One may accept your application and not the other.

Bottom Line on RoHS3 Exemptions

Exemption request is a tedious and cumbersome process. The outcome is not guaranteed as the European Commission can refuse the grant the exemption. Most of the time, it is possible to find alternatives and not request a specific exemption.

As a result, before requesting a RoHS exemption, Enviropass recommends that you verify whether any other option is available. If there is no other choice, then you will have to submit a robust dossier.

RoHS and exemption compliance

Online RoHS training is available starting at 439 CAD $/person.

Enviropass can help you assess the need to request RoHS exemptions.

Contact a RoHS expert!