EU Environmental Regs

While having my hair cut today, I read an article in the LA Times about the imminent implementation of European Union regulations banning certain metals (lead, chromium, mercury) and certain organic chemicals in most manufactured products. The purpose is to stop the build-up of these substances in land fills that results from the large scale disposal of manufactured products. Computers are a major cause of this problem, but the article also mentioned lasers and microphones. Manufacturers of the affected products are scrambling to find appropriate substitutes, and a representative of Shure was quoted in the article. The article also mentioned that lead would have to be replaced in solder with tin or copper, but those metals require higher temperatures that might damage other components and could also leave “whiskers” that can cause electrical shorts.

Although the US does not have similar regulations, the volume of goods sold in the EU means that most manufacturers will not be able to economically produce a separate non-compliant version for sale here. Has anyone heard whether these regulations will create cost or quality problems for audio companies?