Eliminating lead in electronics is an environmentally considerate approach that is made prior to manufacture. Recently enacted legislation encourages increased recycling of electrical and electronic products. However, recycling is typically an end‐of‐use action occurring just before final disposal. From an environmentally‐considerate perspective, lead elimination or replacement is a better approach. Short of having a definitive study to follow, industry, regulators, and consumers are proceeding with the change. Various lead‐free alloys have been tested and used for electronic components and assemblies. There are many replacements for eutectic tin‐lead solder, and alloys containing tin, silver, copper, and bismuth have been used successfully. Assessing how the electronics industry is addressing the change to lead‐free materials and processes requires answers to various questions. These questions regard the effects of changes to electronic products and their processes. What drives lead‐free migration, how processes can develop, and when products will be available are issues which define the assessment.
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