Brussels has outlined 33 chemicals that need to be restricted in textile production by December 2020

Brussels has outlined 33 chemicals that need to be restricted in textile production by December 2020

The European Union (EU) health watchdog has moved to ban or restrict the use of another 33 chemicals used in clothing, footwear and other textile articles, which it views as harmful to human health.

The chemicals come under the carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) category, and are known to cause cancer and reproductive health problems.

The substances include formaldehyde, heavy metals and benzenes that may present in textiles either through deliberate action for the specific properties they give clothing such as shrink-proofing or fabric crease resistance, or through contaminants from the production process.

A 24-month transition period to phase out or limit the use of the chemicals has commenced, with all companies expected to comply with the new restriction by December 2020.

"These new rules set maximum concentration limits for the use of CMR substances in clothing and textiles and prohibit products exceeding these limits from being placed on the EU market, regardless of their origin of production," the EU says.

"The restrictions have been prepared on the basis of scientific and technical recommendations by the European Chemicals Agency, and following broad consultations with stakeholders. They will become applicable 24 months after publication of the regulation in the Official Journal of the EU."

The new rules will be included in the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) regulation, which came into force in 2007. They will become applicable 24 months after publication of the regulation in the Official Journal of the EU.

The full list of restricted chemicals can be found here.