The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added nine benzidine-based dyes used in clothing to a new ruling to prevent them from entering the US market.

Significant New Use Rules (SNURs) were issued this week under the Toxic Substances Control Act, allowing the EPA to review any efforts by manufacturers to introduce certain chemicals into the market.

The rule includes most uses of certain benzidine-based dyes, which can be used in textiles; DnPP, a phthalate used in PVC plastics; and alkanes C12-13, used as industrial lubricants.

The action adds nine benzidine-based dyes to an existing SNUR, and it closes a loophole to ensure these chemicals and products containing them, such as clothing, cannot be imported without EPA review and possible restriction.

EPA said it has investigated safer dyes and colourants as alternatives to benzidine as part of its Safer Chemical Ingredients List and Design for the Environment programme.

The final SNURs will require anyone who wishes to manufacture (including import) or process these chemical substances for a significant new use to notify EPA 90 days before starting or resuming new uses of the chemicals. The notice will provide EPA with the opportunity to evaluate the intended use of the chemicals and, if necessary, take action to prohibit or limit the activity, it said.