A majority of the EU countries have supported the European Commission’s proposal to protect the 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 by restricting clothing and textiles containing them. “The proposal follows discussions with relevant stakeholders, in particular citizens, public authorities, industry and trade associations, NGOs and EU countries’ representatives,” European Commission said on its website.
The proposal will now go to the European Parliament and the Council for scrutiny. Thereafter, it will become applicable in the following 24 months from the date of publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Once the restriction enters into force, clothing and related articles, textiles and footwear containing the listed substances, whether they are produced within the EU or imported into the EU, will not be allowed to be placed on the EU market.
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.