Inquiries about "RoHS compliance but Contains Lead"

Questions concerning parts listed as “RoHS compliant but contains Lead”, otherwise known as compliance by exemption, is common request Digi-Key receives from our customers.

Below you will find several questions we frequently field:

  • How can the part be RoHS Compliant but still contain lead over the restricted concentration ppm levels?

This means the item was applied for RoHS Exemption from the restriction of contained lead or its compounds

For details on why the product may qualify for RoHS Exemptions: RoHS compliant but contains Lead (PB), please see additional information here:
RoHS Exceptions: RoHS compliant but contains Lead (PB) - Site Help, Information and Feedback / Navigation and Terminology - Engineering and Component Solution Forum - TechForum │ Digi-Key

  • Why the part is RoHS Compliance but not Lead Free?

RoHS Compliance is not necessarily equivalent to “Does Not Contain Lead (Lead Free)”. RoHS-compliant parts are allowed to contain lead, so long as the concentration of lead remains below a certain threshold

  • Why the part is RoHS Compliant by Exemption/Contains Lead but still recommends Lead Free reflow soldering?

This is another common misunderstanding about RoHS compliance. Most times the leaded process is a lower temperature rating than lead free process. However, tin plated lead or solder alloy could be an issue so therefore manufacturer may recommend for lead free solder process for the leaded component.

For the most up to date information on on RoHS and other Enviromental Initiatives please check out out Enviromental Initiative page.

Any RoHS or Enviromental Initiative specific questions can be sent to

For further information:
The use of Lead-Free solder, good or bad? - Education - Engineering and Component Solution Forum - TechForum │ Digi-Key (