The purpose of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive is primarily to lessen the impact of the increasing electronics waste on the environment by promoting environmentally responsible manufacturing processes for electronic devices sold in the European Union (EU). The RoHS directive prioritizes changes to the beginning of a product's life, making the product environmentally friendly throughout its life cycle.
The current restricted substances are Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Chromium VI (hexavalent chromium), PBB and PBDE, although this list is likely to be modified over the years. It took effect on July 1, 2006. The final responsibility lies with EU manufacturers and distributors to ensure compliance but its effects reach around the globe to all suppliers of the components used to manufacture these devices.