The Riley Report: More Lead-free Lemmings Leaping

The year 2008 threatens further restrictions on lead solders in electronics equipment. Worldwide, the European Union 2002 Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulations took effect in July, 2006. In 2007, China introduced its own version of RoHS, with detailed product catalogs still being developed. Korea will impose its RoHS version in 2008. Australia, Taiwan, and Argentina are said to be progressing with their versions. Domestically, California was saved from replicating the EU blunder only by Gov. Schwarzenegger’s October 2007 veto. Other states are examining similar proposals, while environmental lobbyists continue to push for federal restrictions.

I’m becoming an emerging technology junkie. One of the great things about my job is learning about new developments before everyone else in the world. Most of the time, I get to write about what I learned. Sometimes I don’t. It’s that word “embargoed” and the phrase “off-the-record” that hold me back. Eventually, I usually get to write about it — hopefully before anybody else does. For instance, when the Roadshow crew visits a company, sometimes we get a glimpse of the next-generation tool or a device on the drawing board. There’s a certain smugness associated with those developments once they hit the wires.


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