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The EU Commission has published a draft regulation that will restrict the level of nonylphenol ethoxylates in textile products. This restriction will be issued as a regulation amending Annex XVII of REACH.
A new entry (Item 46a) is proposed to be added. The proposed restriction will be:
“Nonylphenol ethoxylates, (C2H4O)nC15H24O, shall not be placed on the market from 60 months after the date of entry into force in textile articles which can reasonably be expected to be washed in water during their normal life cycle, in concentrations equal to or greater than 0.01% by weight of the textile article or each part of the textile article.”
This shall not apply to the placing on the market of second-hand textile articles or to new textile articles produced exclusively from recycled textiles.
The Regulation also defines a ‘textile article’ (in line with Regulation 1007/2011/EU) to which the restriction will apply:
"‘textile article’ means any unfinished, semi finished or finished product which is composed of at least 80% textile fibres by weight, or any other product that contains a part which is composed of at least 80% textile fibres by weight.”
A link to the draft regulation is below and the final date for comments is 15 June 2015.
The concern with the substance is that nonylphenol ethoxylates are persistent in the aquatic environment, bioaccumulative and extremely toxic to aquatic organisms, and they have been the subject of campaign for environmental groups. The class of substance is a surfactant, which has been widely used in the textile processing during dyeing and fabric softening. The means the Regulation will impact on a wide range of textile products including cotton, silks and linen items where the substances may be used to aid dyes consistency and also denim products where they may be applied during the softening process.
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