Textiles: New Restrictions on CMR Substances

The REACH rules committee of the EU Commission has approved further restrictions on 33 carcinogenic, mutagenic, and reprotoxic (CMR) substances in textiles, clothing, and footwear. The draft now goes to the European Parliament and Council for final approval. The EU Commission is expected to publish the regulation in the Official Journal in Q3 2018. After a transition phase of 24 months, the regulation will go into full effect.

The 33 CMR substances include cadmium, chrome, arsenic, lead (and its compounds), various polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formaldehyde, phthalates, the solvent dimethylacetamide, and certain dyes. The substances are present in textiles during the production process or are added to them to prevent wrinkling or shrinkage. You can find the complete list of restricted substances in the draft of the annex of the planned regulation.

The following products are exempted from the regulation:

  • Personal protective equipment as defined in EU Regulation 2016/425 in relation to clothing, accessories, textiles, or shoes
  • Medicinal products as defined in EU Regulation 2017/745 in relation to clothing, accessories, textiles, or shoes
  • Clothing, accessories, textiles, or shoes or parts of clothing, accessories, textiles, or shoes made
    exclusively from natural leather, fur, or hides
  • Non-textile fasteners and decorative elements
  • Second-hand clothing, accessories, and textiles other than clothing and shoes

In 2015, the EU Commission published a preliminary list of 286 CMR substances that were to be restricted. Environmental groups and the European Consumer Organization (BEUC) feel that the new regulation does not go far enough. An association of environmental groups has written a letter to the REACH Committee calling for a prohibition of all CRM substances. Monique Goyens, general director of BEUC, was equally disappointed. “We are glad that the EU is taking the bull by the horns, and that some harmful substances will disappear from the clothes we wear and the bedsheets we sleep in. But the EU missed an opportunity to protect consumers better,” she said.

We are pleased to advise you about the legal implications of the new regulation for your products. Please contact us at reach@kft.de.

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