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The EU Commission published a regulation on 13th January 2016, that will restrict the level of nonylphenol ethoxylates in textile products. Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/26 regarding nonylphenol ethoxylates amends Annex XVII of Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).
The new entry (Item 46a) is added to Annex XVII, which restricts nonylphenol exthoxylates in textile articles from 3 February 2021, as follows:
"Nonylphenol ethoxylates, (C2H4O)nC15H24O, shall not be placed on the market after 3 February 2021, in textile articles that can reasonably be expected to be washed in water during their normal lifecycle, in concentrations equal to or greater than 0,01 % by weight of that textile article or of 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 regulation is below:
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 that has been widely used in the textile processing during dyeing and fabric softening. This 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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