February 22, 2010
RoHS (lead-free electronics) A Possible Cause For Toyota Recall
The European “Reduction of Hazardous Substances” regulations (aka RoHS) might have claimed another victim. A few years ago a billion dollar Swatch watch recall was apparently related to tin whiskers, a known failure mode of RoHS-compliant electronics.1 Now, according to an industry news report, Toyota might have fallen victim to the same thing.2
We’re sure that some anti-industry environmentalists will be pleased, as this could make RoHS the most expensive piece of electronic industry regulation ever written.
What makes tin whiskers interesting, is that there is really no way to prevent them in lead free electronics, as all industry efforts focus on “mitigating” the effects, not preventing the formation of tin whiskers.3
We find it amazing that legislation that was in part intended to reduce waste is now apparently causing massive amounts of new waste due to accelerated failures, not to mention the indirect costs to the economy.
What strikes us is how similar the inclusion of lead in the RoHS legislation has been to the inclusion of carbon dioxide in the various attempted “Global Warming” laws. We recommend that our readers review the various references to this article and make their own conclusions as to the mindset and motivations of those who rammed through RoHS without regard to its implications. Unfortunately for the electronics industry and us (the consumers), there was no easy way to show that the benefits of lead-free electronics are possibly just as illusory as the benefits of a “carbon neutral” economy.4
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