SAFEGUARDS | Softlines NO. 132/16

SafeGuardS girl holding doll bear

The European Commission has published a summary document [1] of the feedback after public consultation on the potential restriction of carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction substances (CMRs) in textile products. The Commission announced its intention to restrict 286 CMRs in textile products in two phases.

The European Commission is in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and Member States Competent Authorities to identify a preliminary list of carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction substances (CMRs) categories 1A and 1B potentially present in textile articles and clothing. A related public consultation under Article 68(2) of Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH) was launched 22nd October 2015 to 22nd March 2016 for collecting information on the interest, feasibility and enforceability of a possible restriction for target relevant chemicals and articles in certain areas. The concerned CMRs are persistent and have a potential to bioaccumulate and at the same time are toxic, they may harm the ecosystems and further on also human health when released to the environment from processes to products along the supply chain.

By considering comments received in the public consultation and as discussed at the Competent Authorities for REACH and CLP (CARACAL) meetings, the Commission plans to implement the CMR substances restriction in two phases. The first phase will limit the scope of the restriction to cover the articles where consumer exposure is most relevant and where articles may come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin. The first phase covers

  • Clothing

  • Footwear

  • Interior textiles articles (such as bed-linen)

Clothing accessories, such as buttons or zippers, interior textiles with no or infrequent contact with skin and footwear made of real leather will be excluded. By focusing on the function of the articles and not on the composition, also clothing with very little or no textile fibre content, such as vinyl raincoats and artificial leather, would be included.

Articles to be considered in the second phase might include floor coverings, carpets, upholstery, clothing accessories and leather articles.

The Commission will establish four lists of CMRs in categories 1A and 1B substances to restrict in the first and second phases:

  • Substances that are potentially present in clothing and are relevant for the restriction

  • Substances that are less likely to be present in clothing or less likely to be released, to be further assessed in second phase

  • Substances that are not present in clothing

  • Substances that were not present in the initial list, but suggested during the public consultation, to be further assessed in second phase.

Substances that will not be considered in the first phase restriction:

  • Substances only present in accessories

  • Substances bound to the matrix and not released

  • Petroleum and coal stream derivatives

  • Substances that might be present only as impurities at levels below detection limits.

There are two types of limit values proposed in the document:

  1. Technologically and analytically feasible limits for substances that can be eliminated from the articles

  2. Limits based on hazard, such as CLP specific limit values or DNELs, and/or the lowest achievable concentration for substances that cannot be eliminated.

The two phase restriction process will go through the simplified procedures outlined under the Article 68(2) of the REACH regulation, which allows the Commission to avoid lengthy procedures involved, such as the preparation of an Annex XV dossier, public consultation or opinions by ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis Committee (SEAC). As foreseen in the Better Regulation Guidelines, the Commission will launch a second, shorter public consultation on the draft amendment of Annex XVII before the discussion of the draft restriction in the REACH Committee.


[2] Summary of the contributions and next steps

[3] Related SGS-Safeguards No. 182/15

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