Sustainability certification and testing organisation NSF International has been approved as a third-party assessor for two programmes that verify the use of hazardous chemicals throughout much of the textile supply chain.

The not-for-profit organisation has been approved as third-party verifier for ToxFMD and the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).

The first assessment, the ZDHC Manufactured Restricted Substances List (ZDHC MRSL), screens for hazardous chemicals used in the processing and manufacturing of textiles. These chemical applications range from mould prevention used in storing leather, to emulsifier and dispersing agents for dyes and prints, to the phthalates used to make plastic buttons more flexible and durable.

NSF International will determine if the chemical-formulation information supplied by the manufacturer meets the requirements of ZHDC MRSL Conformance Level 1 certification. MRSL is a list of chemical substances banned from international use in facilities that process textile materials and trim parts in apparel, leather and footwear.

The second assessment, the ToxFMD Screened Chemistry Program, includes the ZDHC MRSL screen but also incorporates additional chemical reviews that assess the human and environmental hazards associated with each chemical within formulations used in the textile industry.

NSF International will serve as a third-party assessor for ToxFMD along with ToxServices, the developer of the chemical assessment program.

As part of ToxFMD, companies are required to disclose all intentionally added ingredients at any concentration and all residuals or impurities greater than 100 parts per million (ppm) in the final textile treatment formulation. These findings are kept confidential so manufacturers can meet supplier demands and program requirements without divulging proprietary information. Clients are given an "acceptable" or "non-acceptable" status based on the ToxFMD assessment.

ToxFMD provides a streamlined platform for chemical hazard assessment and does not require membership fees or subscription. NSF International reviews the chemicals against the US Environmental Protection Agency's Safer Chemical Ingredients List (SCIL) or Master Criteria, the GreenScreen List Translator (GS LT) or GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals (GS), and the ZDHC MRSL.

"Third-party evaluation, completed by our toxicologists through a robust and comprehensive vetting process using state-of-the-art resources, promotes transparency and allows manufacturers to demonstrate compliance with supplier and consumer demands," says Jenny Oorbeck, general manager of NSF International's sustainability services.