Data collected on how many products here will make the cut

Mobile phones, mobile computers, refrigerators, air-conditioners, panel television sets and washing machines.

These six popular devices will, in future, have to comply with regulations to ensure that they do not contain too much toxic materials before they can be made or imported for sale in Singapore.

A National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman told The Straits Times last week: "Singapore's framework is adapted from the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive and it will restrict six hazardous substances in six controlled electrical and electronic equipment."

This means that hazardous substances, such as lead, mercury and cadmium, must be kept to certain concentration limits when they are used to make these products.

The EU made the RoHS law in 2006 and China passed its own version a year later. South Korea followed suit in 2008. Then, experts said the set of rules could have a far-reaching impact on manufacturers and exporters, as many of their products may not meet the new standards.

The NEA did not give a date for when such regulations will kick inhere. However, the spokesman said: "Once implemented, the Singapore framework will complement NEA's initiatives on e-waste recycling to minimise the environmental impact of e-waste from a cradle-to-grave perspective."

It is not known how many products in Singapore would make the cut but the authorities have started to collect data. In 2011, NEA awarded a $58,000 contract to market research firm GfK to find out what proportion of commonly used consumer appliances sold here between 2006 and 2009 comply with the RoHS directive.

The electronics industry is a key sector here. In 2013, its manufacturing output was about $80 billion and accounted for 28 per cent of manufacturing output.

Janice Tai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2015, with the headline 'Data collected on how many products here will make the cut'. Print Edition | Subscribe