RoHS and Biomedical Devices

The line between "devices" and "IT" is quickly fading as these two categories merge. Hospitals are a good example. In the late 20th century, many hospitals had two technology departments: "biomed" and "computers". As biomedical devices have becoming increasingly digital and networked, and as IT moves onto mobile devices, many hospitals have consolidated these operations into a single technology organization. A consequence is that Green ICT embraces medical devices and their infrastructures. Our original 2010 post noted that medical equipment sold into the European Union was exempt from the Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, but that would be changing. There is now a firm 2014 date.

The recast RoHS Directive states "…shall apply to medical devices and monitoring and control instruments which are placed on the market from 22 July 2014 [and] to in vitro diagnostic medical devices which are placed on the market from 22 July 2016…"

Manufacturers may apply for exemptions, so responsible healthcare organizations still need to have RoHS purchasing standards.

Click on the "biomed" tag at the top of this post for more about Green ICT and healthcare.

Original 2010 Post

Consider Europe's RoHS Directive that "the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment."

The UK government's RoHS page on medical devices states:

Category 8 equipment is presently outside the scope of the RoHS Regulations. However, the Commission is reviewing the Directive at present and it is likely that category 8 will be brought into the Directive in the future.

Is the a reason for Biomedical device manufacturers to not move aggressively to remove hazardous substances? UK RoHS cautions:

Some medical devices may be used in other disciplines, perhaps in domestic or industrial applications. If so, they may also fall under another category and need to comply with RoHS.

More important, businesses committed to global citizenship demonstrate that to their stakeholders by adopting sustainable practices ahead of regulatory requirements.