In 2003, the European Union (EU) adopted the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS 1) to “restrict the use of six hazardous materials in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment” (Wikipedia). The directive became effective in 2006 and always refers to EU standards for restriction of hazardous substances, unless otherwise noted.

RoHS 1 Compliance and Human Health

Because we sell inverters to companies on both sides of the Atlantic, and because we strive to offer the safest products to any company, regardless of its location, Exeltech maintains RoHS 1 certification for all of the electricity conduction equipment that we sell, including our frequency inverter models. Below, we take a look at the six substances that RoHS 1 restricts and the importance of the restrictions for those who work closely with electricity conduction hardware.

1. Lead

Lead poisoning was documented as early as ancient Rome. When ingested in any fashion by humans, lead can cause neurotoxic effects. Acute exposure may lead to only temporary effects, but prolonged exposure to the chemical element can lead to permanent Central Nervous System (CNS) damage.

2. Mercury

Mercury exposure typically occurs through skin absorption or inhalation of mercury vapors. In either case, exposure to the element can cause “tremors, impaired cognitive skills, and sleep disturbance, [even] in workers with chronic exposure to mercury vapor at low concentrations in the range 0.7–42 μg/m3” (Wikipedia).  Mercury vapors are widely considered to be hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).

3. Cadmium

Cadmium is most dangerous to human health when inhaled in the form of fine dust and fumes. Toxicology professionals have found that exposure to mercury fumes can precipitate metal fume fever and eventually lead to chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and even loss of life. For reference, cigarette smoking is a common form of cadmium inhalation.

4. Hexavalent Chromium

Raw chromium is a chemical compound that helps give chromium alloys, such as stainless steel, their resilient, silvery appearance. However, in its hexavalent state, chromium can increase the chance of lung cancer when inhaled. Exposure to hexavalent chromium compounds has also been linked to damage to capillaries in the kidneys and intestines.

5. Polybrominated biphenyls

Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) are manmade chemicals that possess chlorine analogs that are dangerous to human health. Extrapolating information from studies that show exposure to the substances causes cancer in mice, The International Agency for Research on Cancer identifies PBBs as possible contributors to carcinogenicity in humans.

6. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are organobromine compounds that are typically used as flame retardants. Exposure to PDBEs has been linked to disruptions in hormone secretion, and Ethylene dibromide, in particular, is considered to be especially carcinogenic in humans who are frequently exposed to the toxic compound.

Need an RoHS 1 Compliant Frequency Inverter?

Implementing a frequency inverter that complies with the RoHS 1 directive can help protect the health of those who work with the equipment. By protecting the health of workers, RoHS 1 compliance naturally protects the finances of their employers by helping to reduce the incidence of sick days taken, workers compensation claims filed, and personal injury lawsuits filed.

For assistance choosing a RoHS 1 compliant frequency inverter for your unique requirements, please call us today at (800) 886-4683, or complete the contact form on our website. We look forward to providing you with a frequency inverter that delivers excellent performance and is safe for your workers regarding RoHS compliance.