SAFEGUARDS | Softlines NO. 182/15
The European Commission launched a public consultation  on a possible restriction of hazardous substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMRs) used in textile articles and clothing for consumer use. Textile articles and clothing were selected as a first test-case because of the high likelihood of consumer exposures to CMR substances potentially present in those articles. The consultation will close on 22nd January 2016.
The Commission is in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and Member States Competent Authorities to identify a preliminary list of 291 CMR substances in categories 1A (Substances known to have carcinogenic potential for humans) and Category 1B (Substances presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans) which may potentially be present in textile articles and clothing. The listed substances include dyes, pigments, colorants, phthalates, solvents, flame retardants and PAHs.
- List of CMR substances – Classified dyes and carcinogenic amines 
- List of CMR substances – Petroleum and coal stream substances 
- List of CMR substances – Other substances 
The possible restriction would cover the following articles intended for consumer use:
- Articles that consist of at least 80% of textile fibres by weight, or
- Articles that contain a part that consists of at least 80% of textile fibres by weight.
The possible restriction covers raw, unfinished, semi-finished and finished goods, whether or not coated or laminated, including articles such as clothing, footwear, accessories, interior textiles, fibres, yarn, fabric and knitted panels.
Examples of articles intended to be covered:
- Underwear, nightwear, swimwear, garments, scarves, ties, handkerchiefs, hats, gloves, socks, footwear
- Footwear, clothing or their parts and accessories made of synthetic / artificial leather
- Footwear, clothing or their parts and accessories made of artificial furs or hides
- Interior articles such as hangings and curtains, carpets and other floor coverings, table mats, table cloths, towels, bed linen, pillow cases
Articles excluded from the possible restriction:
- Footwear, clothing or their parts and accessories made of real leather
- Footwear, clothing or their parts and accessories made of natural furs or hides
The proposed concentration limits are divided into two types:
- Specific concentration limit when available in a legislation (e.g. 30 mg/kg (30 ppm) of entry 43 of Annex XVII of REACH for aromatic amines and azodyes)
- A generic concentration limit (50 mg/kg, 50 ppm, 0.005%) for all the other cases
A public consultation has been launched in order for the Commission to collect relevant information on considering the proportionality and enforceability of a possible restriction in textile sector and the possible socio-economic effect of the ban. The list of CMR substances (individual substances or groups) covered by this possible restriction would be added as a specific appendix to Annex XVII to REACH and could be regularly updated in case appropriate.
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