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Commission takes further action against hazardous chemicals in clothing, textiles and footwear

Commission takes further action against hazardous chemicals in clothing, textiles and footwear
Published on: 26/04/2018
The European Commission is taking another important step to protect EU consumers from substances known to cause cancer and reproductive health problems.

Under the REACH Regulation, the Commission proposed to limit the exposure to 33 chemicals that are Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Toxic for reproduction (CMR) by restricting the placing on the market of clothing, textiles and footwear containing them.

In a vote in the REACH Committee today, a majority of EU countries supported the Commission's proposal to protect EU consumers from hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer and reproductive health problems.

The restricted substances may be present in clothing, textiles, and footwear either from the production process or because they have been added intentionally to give specific properties such as to prevent shrinkage or make fabric crease-resistant.

Consumers can be exposed to these hazardous substances through skin contact, inhalation or unintentional ingestion of dust released from the textile fibres. Small children are also at risk due to a possible oral exposure.

As from the entry into force of the restriction, clothing and related articles, textiles and footwear containing the listed substances, whether they are produced within the EU or imported into the EU, are not allowed to be placed on the EU market.

The proposal follows discussions with relevant stakeholders, in particular citizens, public authorities, industry and trade associations, NGOs and EU countries' representatives. 

After scrutiny by the Parliament and Council and after publication in the Official Journal of the EU, it will become applicable in the following 24 months.