A variety of electronic components make use of ceramic materials, including; capacitors, insulators, piezoelectrics, magnets and integrated circuit packages. Some of these ceramic materials contain lead; for example, lead zirconate titanate and lead magnesium niobate. The electrical parameters, such as the dielectric constant and dissipation of the material, are determined by the specific chemical composition and manufacturing process. These properties are essential for the functioning of the component in which these materials are used. Hence, lead used in the ceramic parts of components in electrical and electronic equipment is exempt from the RoHS Directive.
Greater numbers of manufacturers are now manufacturing, in new lead-free forms, electronics products that traditionally contained lead, whether these products are solders or pastes or finishes or discrete components. If a company is concerned about the inclusion of a particular component within their final product, it is worth investigating whether or not there is a lead-free alternative available. This may, of course, have financial and operational implications, and proper evaluation must be carried out before a replacement part is introduced. However, the exemptions under the RoHS Directive are reviewed at least every four years and, as such, existing exemptions may be removed as technological progress is made. Therefore, it may be advisable to have alternative technologies already evaluated for a particular application.
What is the RoHS Directive?
What is the WEEE Directive?