What is RoHS certification?

EU RoHS certification applies to products that need electric currents or electromagnetic fields to fulfil at least one intended function (note: there are a few exceptions) and is an optional product safety certification providing importers with extra reassurance. Your product is tested to assess the presence of hazardous substances outlined by the EU RoHS directive (standing for the ‘restriction of hazardous substances’) and you will typically be issued with a certificate of compliance by the testing laboratory.

If a testing lab has the correct equipment and understands the directive’s limits on hazardous substances, you can work with one of your own choosing as there are no notified bodies mandated by this directive.

RoHS may not be mandatory, although many importers globally test for it anyway because it is a logical directive where product safety is concerned, however, it is a law in California (and not exactly the same as EU RoHS) and is also coming up in Saudi Arabia, too.


The RoHS list of prohibited hazardous substances.

RoHS focuses on hazardous substances and materials and products generally need to comply with the directive in order to be imported into and sold in Europe and the UK (i.e. they must contain no more than the prescribed amount of the substances in order to be compliant), although it isn’t mandatory.

There are 10 hazardous substances that must currently be checked for under the directive. They are mainly either carcinogenic, toxic, or both. In general, less than 1000ppm is allowed per substance unless otherwise stated:

  1. Cadmium (Cd): < 100 ppm (0.01%)
  2. Lead (Pb): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  3. Mercury (Hg): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  4. Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI) < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  5. Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  6. Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  7. Bis(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  8. Benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP): < 1000 ppm (0.1%)

RoHS started with the first 6 materials and then over time, the additional 4 were added to the list and more may be added accordingly in future if they’re found to be harmful enough to warrant inclusion.


How to test for the substances?

Testing labs that offer RoHS testing usually have two kinds of equipment. One crushes the product into pellet-sized pieces and the other is a controlled X-ray machine that analyses them with the aid of software to assess their elemental makeup.

Here’s one example of a RoHS test machine:

rohs testing machine The report will provide a graph showing the elements in the product which can be examined to see if the prohibited materials occur and in what quantities. It will look something like this example in which you can see a graph that demonstrates the levels of substances found:

rohs test results


How much does RoHS testing cost?

Testing in order to obtain RoHS certification is relatively affordable, costing around US$700-1,200 per product for small consumer products. Larger products with many different materials in them may cost more accordingly.


What process does the lab follow to test products for RoHS after receiving them?

The RoHS testing process is as follows:

  • Receive inquiry
  • Request product photos, material list, MSDS, testing application form and a declaration concerning the components used
  • Send tentative quote for the testing
  • Receive product for testing
  • Perform risk analysis to determine the presence of any of the substances
  • Formulate test plans and final quotation
  • Perform the testing as per the plan
  • Release final test report
  • Issue RoHS certificate

Importers may choose to show on their products and/or packaging that they comply with RoHS when importing them into the EU or UK as some distributors or customers will value seeing it clearly labelled.

If you have any other questions about certifications and compliance, please contact us for a friendly conversation about your situation.



Here at Sofeast, we are not lawyers. What we wrote above is based only on our understanding of the legal requirements. We do not present this information as a basis for you to make decisions, and we do not accept any liability if you do so. Consider consulting a lawyer before making legal decisions.

About Adrian Leighton

Adrian is the Sofeast group's experienced marketer and has worked in manufacturing for around a decade. He has a particular interest in new product development and sharing important manufacturing news from China.If you've read, watched, or listened to some Sofeast content, Adrian has probably had a hand in it!
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