In a joint initiative, France and Sweden are reported to have submitted a proposal to the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) to ban or limit over 1,000 skin sensitisers used in the production of textiles, leather and furs.

The joint initiative is said to include all substances classified as skin sensitisers under the CLP Regulation and 25 substances of the family of disperse dyes with sensitising properties. The decision follows studies carried out by the French Agency for Food, Environment and Occupational Health and Safety (Anses) and the Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi). “Chemical alternatives exist, in particular for disperse dyes for which substitution is feasible and already underway in Europe”, said Anses.

Allegedly, they propose to limit the concentration of sensitising substances under REACH to the following thresholds:

1mg/kg for chromium VI compounds (textiles, leather, furs and skins);
130mg/kg (textiles) and 110mg/kg (leather, furs and skins) for nickel and its compounds;
70mg/kg (textiles) and 60mg/kg (leather, furs and skins) for cobalt and its compounds;
75mg/kg for formaldehyde (textiles, leather, furs and skins);
250mg/kg (textiles) and 210mg/kg (leather, furs and skins) for 1,4 paraphenylene diamine; and
130mg/kg (textiles) and 110mg/kg (leather, furs and skins) for other substances classified as skin sensitisers.
Reportedly, Anses and Kemi estimate that four to five million EU citizens have allergies to chemicals that are present in textiles and leather, and that between 45,000 and 180,000 people in the Union develop an allergy to these chemicals every year.

ECHA is expected to start a public consultation on the restriction proposal in June, which will be open for six months.

Source: Chemical Watch