Pathway Connectivity announced that it will begin shipment of fully qualified RoHS-compliant products in the first quarter of 2006. The RoHS directive, which is often referred to as Lead-Free legislation, is an acronym for “Reduction of Hazardous Substances.” It is intended to restrict the use of not just lead, but a variety of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment as well.

Compliance must be met for all products containing electrical or electronic components placed in the European Union market as of July 1 of this year. This legislation appears to be part of a growing global trend toward more environmentally sound manufacturing policies in industry as a whole. Concurrently, the EU is implementing the WEEE directive, which covers equipment recyclability; a similar directive was put in place in Japan in 2001, with a likely extension to cover computer equipment this year. Although the United States has no similar federal legislation at this time, California has enacted legislation mirroring that of the RoHS directive and a number of other states have legislation pending.

Pathway has been following the development of these directives for a number of years. In early 2004, Pathway began working on a RoHS compliance strategy. This included an evaluation of compliance as well as component substitution and re-engineering where necessary to incorporate only components and manufacturing processes that meet the RoHS directive. Additionally, all relevant Pathway staff have undergone RoHS training.

Many of Pathway’s new RoHS compliant products were on display at ETS-LDI 2005. Standards guru Karl Ruling comments in ESTA’s Protocol magazine: “This is important if you are trying to do business in Europe, California, China, or Japan–all places that have some sort of RoHS regulations for electronic gear. Shipping a product half-way across the world and then having some guy ask, ‘Is this RoHS-compliant?’ is not good unless your answer honestly can be ‘Yes’."