Effective testing for hazardous substances in electronic equipment

Manufacturers use international IECEE service to show compliance

Electrical and electronic equipment is part of our lives, from televisions, fridges and other appliances, to computers, printers and mobile phones.

Many people use tablets and phones on a daily basis

Compliance protects people and the environment

Some materials and components used to make these items may contain hazardous substances, which could be harmful to people exposed to them during manufacture or end of life recycling, and they may pollute the environment. However, these issues can be avoided if the hazardous content is managed throughout the product’s entire life cycle.

IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, has developed the international Hazardous Substances Testing Service (HSTS) with this in mind.

Concern over these substances has led countries to pass legislation restricting their use. Electric and electronic product and component manufacturers and suppliers must comply with ever increasing global regulations and requirements. They must ensure that their products meet these regulations at national and regional levels, in order to market them, and to avoid possible recalls or legal suits.

For example, the European Union Directive - Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) – restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. Other countries, including Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and the United States have similar legal restrictions on the use of hazardous substances.

The proof is in the testing

IECEE HSTS uses International Standard IEC 62321, which provides appropriate test methods to verify the percentage of hazardous substances in the materials and parts of the product, according to the relevant regulations in different countries. Currently, the six substances that could have potentially serious negative impact on human health and the environment are:

  • Lead (Pb)
  • Mercury (Hg)
  • Cadmium (Cd)
  • Hexavalent Chromium (Cr(VI)
  • Polybromobiphenyl (PBB)
  • Polybromodiphenyl ethers (PBDE)


The benefits of IECEE HSTS include:

  • Independent third-party testing of compliance using relevant IEC International Standards
  • Internationally recognized certification

Manufacturers receive a Statement of Test Results and an associated test report based on IEC 62321, which enable them to show compliance with the relevant regulation.

Ultimately there are savings of cost and time to market by avoiding repeat testing in different countries/regions.

More information on www.iecee.org