Threat to health and environment
One of the issues associated with electronic components is that some of them may contain hazardous substances such as lead, cadmium or mercury. These substances may be equally as dangerous to the workers who manufacture the components as to end-users and the community in general.
An additional problem is faced at the end of the products’ life cycle: dealing with waste. Manufacturers are under great pressure to produce "clean" products in order to comply with legislation that restricts the use of hazardous substances in electronic products and components. The pressure is even greater as the life cycle of electronic components contracts.
Legislation in place
In July 2006, the EU (European Union) RoHS (Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directives came into effect. Both Directives have been revised since: RoHS in July 2011 and WEEE in July 2012. Another EU Directive, REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals), came into force in June 2007. It deals with chemicals and their safe use, so as to improve the protection of human health and the environment through better and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances.
The EU countries are not the only ones to have limited drastically the use of hazardous substances. Many industrial countries around the world, including Australia, China, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand and the United States, have followed suit and established their own legislation.
Efficient production of hazardous substance-free products
IECQ has the perfect solution for manufacturers and suppliers who want to produce and distribute hazardous substance-free electronic components.
IECQ HSPM (Hazardous Substance Process Management) is a technically-based management systems approach to implementing and maintaining hazardous substance-free products and production processes. IECQ HSPM was developed in response to component manufacturers’ need to give suppliers the means of demonstrating, through third-party assessment, that their electrical and electronic components and assemblies meet specific hazardous substance-free local, national and international requirements. Many companies today are working to attain IECQ HSPM Certification to QC 080000.
Advantages of the new edition
The 3rd edition clarifies how organizations can use IECQ QC 080000 to manage their hazardous substances other than through the outright removal of restricted substances and avoiding their use in products.
There are numerous advantages in using the 3rd edition of IECQ QC 080000. Among them:
- requirements on restricting the use of hazardous substances in products are supplemented by management requirements on working with such substances. These management requirements will enable an organization to put in place processes that accommodate hazardous substances directives and regulations other than RoHS. New requirements in the redefined RoHS, such as compliance assessment, preparation of technical files and of self-declarations, use of markings, change control, product recall, and the communication of information within the supply chain in REACH can now be managed through these new requirements in QC 080000.
- better alignment and consistency with ISO 9001, Quality management systems – Requirements, in terms of terminology and wordings to facilitate incorporation of the IECQ HSPM requirements into an organization’s existing management system.
- removal of ambiguity and clarification of the intention of some requirements that were published in the 2nd edition.
Complying with the requirements laid out in IECQ QC 080000 is by far the easiest and fastest way of obtaining IECQ certification. The specification helps companies to demonstrate that they are making conscientious efforts to reduce the use of hazardous materials in their processes and actively replacing such materials with non-harmful alternatives.
IECQ QC 080000 is available in several languages: English, French, Japanese, Korean and Chinese (simplified and traditional).