Ask the Experts: Top Five Questions

Ask the Experts: Top Five Questions

Our team of regulatory subject matter experts are always available to educate compliance professionals through content, webinars and events. They also provide advice to Assent clients. Here are the top five questions our Regulatory team received recently:  

Q:  When RoHS 3 (2.1) goes into effect, which products are in scope for the July 22, 2021 deadline?

Bruce Jarnot: RoHS restrictions for the four phthalate plasticizers (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIBP) will come into force on July 22, 2019, for all electric and electronic equipment, except medical devices and monitoring and control instruments, which will come into scope on July 22, 2021.

Q: What are some of the penalties and consequences of RoHS non-compliance that may resonate with my board of directors?  

Bruce Jarnot: Based on experience, competent authorities from EU member states want to see evidence of RoHS due diligence showing that your company understands its requirements, and that third-party supplier documentation is being actively collected and refreshed. Significant fines and litigation are more likely to happen (compared to a corrective action plan) if a company flagrantly disregards this law and applies the CE marking without substantiation. Some EU RoHS enforcement authorities have stated that over $65 million worth of electronics are being recalled from the market every year due to this issue.

Valerie Kuntz: You should also be aware, especially for RoHS, that imported products are often scanned at customs to confirm they do not contain any of the restricted substances. From there, enforcement authorities can go back to the importer/manufacturer to determine what information they have that supports adding the CE marking. Even if they don’t specifically impose a fine, they can force you to remove/recall all non-compliant parts, which can get expensive.

Q: What organization handles applications for RoHS exemptions?

Valerie Kuntz: The OEKO Institut has traditionally been the organization contracted by the European Commission to support technical evaluation of EU RoHS exemptions. They have a guidance document for companies that want to apply for exemptions, which can be found here.  

Q: My supplier doesn’t think they need to disclose the use of 3TGs in their products, but I believe they are in scope. What should I do?

Jared Connors: If you can show you’ve made reasonable inquiries to the supplier, that may be sufficient for your end-of-year disclosure. However, I’d recommend contacting the supplier and explaining that in order to align with industry standards, they should disclose material sources for 3TGs in the supply chain. This goes beyond U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting — companies around the globe, including those not directly reporting to the SEC for the purposes of Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, have responsible minerals programs and require supply chain transparency.

Q: Should suppliers that provide stainless steel, brass or aluminum parts be considered in scope of a conflict minerals campaign for tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold (3TGs)?

Jared Connors: The industry expectation is that companies conduct an internal engineering analysis to determine scope for conflict minerals reporting. If you feel that parts do not contain 3TGs, based on this analysis, you may choose to exclude them and record your reasoning for the audit trail. You may also choose to survey the suppliers, and record the audit trail from the supplier determination. Either way is acceptable.

Assent regulatory subject matter experts frequently particulate in events such as webinars to educate compliance professionals. They also inform our clients’ regulatory programs. To learn more, contact info@assentcompliance.com.  

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