The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive 2002/95/EC, (RoHS 1), short for Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, was adopted in February 2003 by the European Union.
The RoHS 1 directive took effect on 1 July 2006, and is required to be enforced and became a law in each member state.This directive restricts (with exceptions) the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. It is closely linked with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) 2002/96/EC which sets collection, recycling and recovery targets for electrical goods and is part of a legislative initiative to solve the problem of huge amounts of toxic electronic waste. In speech, RoHS is often spelled out and refers to the EU standard, unless otherwise qualified.
RoHS helps reduce damage to people and the environment in third-world countries where much of today's "high-tech waste" ends up. The use of lead-free solders and components reduces risks to electronics industry workers in prototype and manufacturing operations. Contact with solder paste no longer represents the same health hazard as it used to