22-Apr-2005 - IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components (IECQ)

Worlwide lead-free certification for electronics launched by IECQ

With legislation in the US on hazardous substances, including lead, in electronics already in place, and similar laws set to take effect in China and Europe shortly, how can electrical and electronic manufacturers be sure that their products meet the new limits being set?

A new specification adopted by IECQ, the IEC's Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, specifies the technical requirements that manufacturers must meet to ensure that their products conform to the new limits. As a result, IECQ is now able to offer a global certification solution for the world's electronics industry to prove compliance with the new environmental regulations regarding lead and other hazardous substances.

The 'Hazardous Substance Free' or 'HSF' Specification developed by the Electronic Component Certification Board (ECCB, the IECQ's US member), and ECA (the Electronic Component Sector of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA)) is entitled 'Electrical and Electronic Components and Products Hazardous Substance Free Standard and Requirements' (EIA/ECCB-954).

HSF Certification to the EIA/ECCB-954 standard does not take the form of subjecting the electronics industry to thousands of new tests, but rather offers a systems' approach that will give companies the means to prove compliance with the new legislation.

In Europe, the RoHS Directive will oblige European Union member states and those countries exporting goods to the EU, to produce electrical and electronic equipment (including components) that do not contain the following 'hazardous' materials: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). In the US , California has enacted the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003. To reward and reinforce companies' compliance with the new Act's requirements, the State has also created the Governor's Environmental & Economic Leadership Awards (GEELA). A network of State agencies was instituted to manage the deployment of and compliance to the Act's requirements. In China, the Ministry of Information Industry is drafting a proposal to ban certain chemical substances from electronic products.

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