Some ideas have good intentions, but end up causing unforseen problems. Case in point: While reviewing a pair of high-end loudspeakers (manufacturer not disclosed to protect the unaware), I discovered that the woofers in one of the speakers was not working. After returning the speaker for repair, I learned that the wires connecting the woofers had come loose. It turns out that the speaker is RoHS compliant
(Restriction of Hazardous Substances). RoHS is an environmental regulation originated in the European Union that prohibits the use of hazardous materials in the manufacturing of electronics, a worthy goal. Products that are not RoHS compliant may not be sold in the EU. RoHS is an idea with good intentions and unintended consequences.
One of the substances covered under RoHS is lead, commonly used in solder. When lead is eliminated from solder, the tin in the solder crystallizes and becomes very brittle and can result in loose connections. The speaker was repaired and returned and no harm was done, but this could be a problem that will resurface with many different electronics products as RoHS compliance spreads to the US, China and other countries. Lead is a hazardous substance, but perhaps more study is required before it's eliminated entirely, or a suitable alternative should be developed. Fortunately, I have been told, military and medical equipment is exempt from RoHS compliance. Read this article for more information.