Issue of January 6, 2019

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EU limits use of 33 harmful substances in textile trade
by Press release

Exporters and traders in the Philippines were advised to comply with the new European Union regulation restricting the use of more than 30 chemicals in the textile sector that are deemed hazardous to health and the environment.

The European Union has initiated a 24-month transition period for the restriction of 33 chemicals which are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR).

The restriction places maximum concentration limits on the substances and bans certain textiles that exceed the thresholds from being placed on the EU market. Product exemptions apply, including for natural leather and second-hand clothing.

The restriction was announced with the EU publishing Regulation 2018/1513 to regulate 33 CMR substances under new entry 72 to Annex XVII of Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, an EU regulation that addresses the production and use of chemical substances, and their potential impacts on both human health and the environment.

The restricted CMR chemicals include substances such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, and benzenes that may be present due to contaminants left over from the production process, or because they have been added intentionally to give specific properties to textiles, such as shrink-proofing or fabric crease-resistance.

The scope of the regulation applies to clothing or related accessories; textiles other than clothing which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, come into contact with human skin to an extent similar to clothing; and footwear.

Examples of products covered include bed linen, upholstery, blankets, coats, children's clothing, sportswear, gloves, bags, footwear, reusable nappies, and headbands.

However, a specific derogation or exemption applies to the placing on the market of formaldehyde in jackets, coats, or upholstery. There, the relevant concentration shall be 300 milligrams per kilogram between Nov. 1, 2020 and Nov. 1, 2023, after which the Appendix 12 threshold shall apply.

Stakeholders were advised that this restriction does not apply to clothing, related accessories or footwear (or parts thereof) that are made exclusively of natural leather, fur or hide.

It does not also apply to non-textile fasteners and decorative attachments; second-hand clothing, related accessories, textiles other than clothing or footwear; wall-to-wall carpets and textile floor coverings for indoor use, rugs and runners; clothing, related accessories or footwear within the scope of two existing EU regulations.

Regulation 2016/425 concerns “personal protective equipment,” equipment designed and manufactured to be worn or held by a person for protection against one or more risks to that person's health or safety, and medical devices.

Regulation 2017/745 refers to  “disposable textiles” or textiles designed for single use, or for use during a limited time and not intended for subsequent use for the same or a similar purpose.

The new regulation came into force on Nov. 1, 2018. Following this date, stakeholders have two years, or until Nov. 1, 2020, to take appropriate measures to comply with the restrictions.

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