hazardous chemicals

What are Hazardous Chemicals?

Hazardous chemicals are substances that pose danger to life forms such as humans, animals, and plants, and to the environment like rivers, oceans, soils, and air. The effects of these chemicals vary, depending on the level of exposure and their toxicity.

Some cause immediate loss of life and permanent damage. There are others that will take longer exposure times before their effects manifest. In human history, there are different large-scale incidents which are associated with the misuse or mishandling of these substances. Effects of some of these incidents can be felt up to these days even if it happened decades ago.

Because of the risks involved in the use and handling of these hazardous chemicals, government rules and regulations are already in place in line with their use, handling, transport, and disposal.

Some nations have sophisticated facilities that are used specifically for the safe use and disposal of these chemicals. There are also numerous public and private groups promoting awareness and training about the proper use of these substances.

Like other common substances, hazardous chemicals can be in the form of solid, liquid, and gas. Some are naturally occurring, while others are a result of man-linked activities such as plant processing and oil refining.

Hazardous chemicals can also be found in things we use every day. They can also be present in some of the things that we have at home, at school, or at the office.

Below are examples of the chemicals we commonly come in contact with:

Air Fresheners
Choose Your Air Fresheners Wisely.
  • Bisphenol A or BPA, which can be found on plastic bottles and food cans. BPA causes behavioral changes in children, and miscarriages in pregnant women.
  • Phthalates are present in household fragrances such as air freshener, insect sprays, and soaps. This substance is known to cause asthma, loss of sperm-count in males, and certain mental issues.
  • Ammonia is a vital component of products such as window cleaners and polishing agents. Prolonged exposure to this substance can cause respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma. It can also produce a poisonous gas when mixed with bleach.
  • Arsenic is a naturally-occurring substance that can be found in water and, in low levels, in rice. It can cause skin and digestive problems. Ingestion of large amounts of this substance can cause paralysis and blindness.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are used to slow the speed of flames. They’re commonly found in electronic products such as television and computers, and foam products such as pillows and quilts. This substance is known to cause thyroid issues.
RoHS Information

What is RoHS?

RoHS (Reduction of Hazardous Substances) was introduced back in 2003 at the European Union. RoHS is concerned with reducing the effects of electronics on the environment, and with the health of people using those electronics. Its purpose is to make electronic products safe for both consumers and manufacturers.

RoHS (also called Directive 2002/95/EC ) is a restriction on the usage of hazardous materials found in, or used in the making of, electronic products. Since July 1, 2006 all products produced in, or coming from EU countries, must first pass the RoHS guidelines before being sold.

Restrictions under RoHS

Restricted materials banned under RoHS includes lead (Pb), Polybrominated Diphenyl ethers (PBDE), Mercury (Hg), Hexavalent Chromium (CrVI), Cadmium (Cd), Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB), and four different phthalates which includes DEHP, BBP, BBP, and DIBP.

RoHS Importance

RoHS Symbol
The RoHS Symbol

RoHS is important because it protects the welfare of consumers, manufacturers, and the environment. It also prevents the harmful effects of chemicals on our health and surroundings. Also, due to the introduction of certain chemicals since the 20th century, consumers and manufacturers seemed to not truly understand the dangers of such chemicals.

Companies Affected by RoHS

Companies that produce electronic products such as cell phones, and any businesses or resellers that sell these electronic products directly in EU countries, are subject to the restrictions regarding these materials. Also, those companies in European countries importing electronic gadgets to other countries also need to abide by RoHS.

Product Tests under RoHS

For the screening and verification process of the electronic products, portable ports analyzers are used, such as X-ray Fluorescence and XRF Metal Analyzers.

RoHS and WEEE

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (also known as WEEE) is the directive related to the collection and recycling of waste coming from electronic equipment. As RoHS covers the restrictions on the usage of dangerous chemicals, WEEE relates to maintaining cleanliness in regard to the hazardous substances used in making electronic products.

RoHS Benefits

RoHS is beneficial for people, companies, manufacturers, and for our environment.

For the People:

  • RoHS helps in reducing the dangers of chemicals in every electronic product that people use
  • RoHS also helps to protect workers in electronic companies from getting sick as a result of dangers from the materials.

For the Companies/Manufacturers:

According to a blog about the benefits of RoHS to electronic companies, the benefits are the following:

  • 15% said that because of RoHS their company gained market share
  • 25% improved their company supply process because of RoHS

For the Environment:

  • The end of wastes from hazardous substances
  • Protection of the environment for the future

Conclusion

RoHS Compliant Logo
Just Look For the RoHS Compliant Logo at the Box.

Overall, not only companies or manufacturers are protected from the hazards of the materials or chemicals mentioned above, but consumers are also. With this, consumers need to make sure that what they buy, especially electronic products, has been cleared and passed by RoHS.

Therefore, in order to follow the guidelines given by the EU regarding RoHS, we must be very careful of what we produce, purchase, and consume. After all, those who are really affected by the dangers of these hazardous substances are us – the people! In addition, our environment is also suffering from the waste products resulting from the use of these dangerous chemicals.