The European Commission (EC) has published a summary document1 on the possible restriction of hazardous substances (CMRs 1A and 1B) in textile articles and clothing after the public consultation2 during October 2015 to March 2016. This document includes the feedback on the public consultation and the next steps of the possible restriction.
The EC in collaboration with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) and Member States Competent Authorities has identified a preliminary list of CMR substances Cat. 1A and 1B that are potentially present in textile articles and clothing, and intended to restrict the CMR substances in textile articles and clothing under Article 68(2) (simplified procedure) of REACH. The EC intends to use this case as a test for the applicability of Article 68(2) to specific CMRs 1A and 1B found in articles.
Considering the comments received from the public consultation, the EC plans to implement the restriction in two steps. The first step would be limiting the scope to articles that may come into direct contact with the skin, and limiting the number of restricted substances to the CMRs which are subject to the public consultation. A wider scope and the inclusion of additional CMRs will be considered in a second step.
When the EC finalised the restriction, a second shorter public consultation will be launched on the draft amendment of REACH Annex XVII, before the proposal is discussed in the REACH Committee.
The first step of the possible restriction intends to cover the articles where the exposure of consumers is potentially the most relevant.
Examples of articles within the scope in the first step:
Clothing (clothing accessories (e.g. buttons, zippers) are excluded);
Footwear (footwear made of real leather are excluded);
Interior textiles that may come into direct and prolonged contact with skin (e.g. bed-linen);
Raincoats, artificial leather clothes (focusing on the function and not on the composition);
Articles to be considered in the second step might include floor coverings, carpets, upholstery, clothing accessories and leather articles.
List of substances
Based on the comments received from the public consultation, the EC is going to establish 4 lists of CMR 1A and 1B substances:
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 a second step);
Substances that are not present in clothing;
Substances that were not present in the initial list, but were suggested during the public consultation (to be further assessed in a second step).
The following substances will not be considered in the first step:
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.
Concentration limit of substances
There will be two types of limit values in the restriction.
Technologically and analytically feasible values (i.e. detection limits) for those substances that can be eliminated from the articles;
Values based on hazard (e.g. CLP specific limit values, DNELs) and/or lowest achievable concentration for those substances that cannot be eliminated from the articles.
This restriction process will go through the simplified procedure under Article 68(2) of REACH. The procedure differs from the standard restriction procedure of Articles 69 to 73. Article 68(2) does not foresee the following:
The preparation of an Annex XV Dossier to initiate the restriction process;
Opinions by ECHA’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and Socio-economic Analysis Committee (SEAC);
The consultation of the Forum for Exchange of Information on Enforcement.
The simplified procedure has been used before for the restriction on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in consumer articles – amendment of entry 50 under REACH Annex XVII (Regulation (EU) No 1272/2013).