About RoHS Testing

The European Restriction of Hazardous Substance Directive RoHS 3 (EU 2015/863) expanded the restrictions of the original RoHS Directive to include four additional phthalates and included Category 11 products. The RoHS directive places the following limits on ten hazardous substances:

• Lead (0.1%)
• Cadmium (0.01%)
• Mercury (0.1%)
• Hexavalent chromium (0.1%)
• Polybrominated biphenyls (PPB) (0.1%)
• Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) (0.1%)
• Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) (0.1%)
• Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP) (0.1%)
• Dibutyl phthalate (DBP) (0.1%)
• Diisobutyl phthalate (DiBP) (0.1%)

RoHS 3 (EU Directive 2015/863) requires compliance of products in Categories 1 thru 11. The exception being Category 8 and 9 products have until July 22, 2021 to be compliant to the phthalates restriction. Category 8 and 9 include medical devices and equipment; and monitoring and control equipment.
Compliance applies to wire, cables and associated connectors, large and small appliances, computing and communications equipment, consumer electronics, lighting, power tools, toys, leisure and sports equipment, medical devices and equipment, monitoring and control equipment, automatic dispensers, and all other electronic and electrical equipment not covered under the other categories.

  • Non-Phthalates Approach

    The initial step in ensuring compliance with RoHS regulations is to screen by X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) according to ASTM F2617. This inexpensive and quick technique scans a sample and determines if the levels of restricted substances within a sample are less than the mandated limits. If the sample passes this initial assessment then it is found to be RoHS compliant and no additional testing is required.

    RoHS Failure
    The sample will be considered to have failed RoHS testing if it contains levels of cadmium, mercury, or lead in excess of the listed limits.

    RoHS Inconclusive
    If the sample contains chromium or bromine in excess of the listed limits or the screening analysis limits, then the screening analysis will be considered “inconclusive.” Further testing will be needed to determine if the chromium and bromine are in acceptable forms. Examples would be trivalent chromium or brominated compounds which aren’t PBB or PBDE. If the initial screening is inconclusive, clients can request a more in-depth testing assessment to determine if the product is compliant. For example, PSI can use ICP for a more quantitative analysis of lead, cadmium, and mercury.

    Sample Considerations
    It is preferred that samples are at least 3 mm. However, if your sample is smaller we would like to speak with you about the feasibility of testing it.

    Homogeneous samples will only require one scan with the XRF. If your sample is not homogeneous, either multiple scans will be required or sample preparation must be performed to ensure reliable test results.

  • Phthalates Approach

    The item in question is typically extracted with a solvent. The extraction solvent is then analyzed for the presence of phthalates.
    Typically, Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) or Flame Ionization Detector (GC/FID) is the method used to separate complex mixtures of polymer additives, provide identification of the individual plasticizer chemicals, and the concentration of each.

    If a RoHS listed phthalate is found to be present in the extract, then we would determine its concentration by using a standard calibration curve for the given phthalate.

    Sample Considerations
    The sample size required for the phthalates analysis is in the range of 1 to 5 grams.

  • Experience

    Our experience with XRF Testing, in addition to RoHS Certification includes:

    • Projectile separation
    • Oxide Analysis
    • Alloy Verification 

    We have analyzed phthalate plasticizers, and various other types of plasticizers, for many different types of products. The following are examples of products on which we have conducted phthalates analysis:

    • CPVC pipe
    • Children’s toys
    • Medical products
    • Vinyl-coated fabrics
    • Plastic tubing
    • Electrical cables and wires

    Related Services
    Chromatography Testing Capabilities
    Gas Chromatography