Background

Electric and electronic equipment (EEE) is a category of products that perhaps more than any other is characteristic of today’s industrial society. It has however also become subject of environmental concern due to the large amounts of waste resulting from widespread use in combination with shortened life cycles. This waste contains hazardous substances such as heavy metals and flame retardants. It is now recycled to a large extent, but in this work the hazardous substances are of concern from the working environment point of view. It is therefore desirable to minimize the content of such substances in EEE.

The RoHS directive (2002/95/EC) was finalized by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on January 27, 2003. RoHS is short for Restriction of the use of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment. It bans the use of certain substances in EEE which is put on the market from July 1, 2006.

Besides health, safety, and environmental conside-rations, materials in electrical and electronic equipment are of interest for their economic value. In recycling, elements such as iron, copper and aluminium are recovered, as well as precious metals like gold and silver. The waste may also contain more “exotic” metals such as indium and germanium.

In 1999, by request from the electronics industry, ALS Scandinavia developed an analytical method for the determination of a large number of metals and other elements in circuit boards. Since then, the method has been further developed to include homogeneous materials such as plastics, metals, etc. Today we also offer analyses for a large number of organic compounds in addition to the elements.