JECED and the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative have produced two documents intended to help manufacturers reduce the risk of tin whiskers growing on lead-free products. JESD201 and JP2002 (developed with IPC) set out strategies to help reduce the occurrence of tin whiskers. Researchers conceded that these are mitigation strategies and that "it is not possible to guarantee that tin whiskers will not grow under field conditions."
This is tough news for manufacturers in the industries such as defense, aerospace and medical equipment, which are exempt from the RoHS lead-free laws. The exempt industries are now forced to choose between risking tin whiskers — and potential product failure — or redesigning their products with pricey high-reliability components.