Sweden and France propose ban on over a thousand allergenic substances in textiles and leather

Sweden and France are proposing an EU ban on more than a thousand allergenic substances used in items such as clothing and shoes. According to the proposal, textile and leather items sold to consumers should not contain these substances at levels above certain content thresholds.


Photo by Kai Pilger from Pexels


- We want to protect all consumers from being affected by skin allergies. These days it is difficult to avoid exposure to allergenic substances that may be present in textiles and leather. Once you have developed a skin allergy, it is a life-long problem, says Helena Dorfh, a risk manager with the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency and the French agency ANSES have jointly drawn up the proposal for an EU ban. The proposal was recently submitted to the European Chemicals Agency, ECHA. Nearly a hundred of the more than one thousand substances covered by the proposal can currently be present in commercially-available textile and leather goods.

- The proposal includes many more allergenic substances than those that can currently be present in textiles and leather, and in this way will prevent the use of other allergenic substances in textile and leather in the future. The aim is to create robust protection for the consumer against all substances that can cause skin allergies, Dorfh says.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency and ANSES estimate that four to five million EU citizens have allergies to chemicals that are present in textiles and leather, and it is thought that between 45,000 and 180,000 people in the EU develop an allergy to these chemicals every year. 

The European Chemicals Agency, ECHA, will now consider the Swedish-French proposal and give companies, organisations and the public an opportunity to express their views as part of a public consultation. This will be followed by a decision process that may result in a decision by the EU Commission on a ban within just over two years. 

Read the proposal on the website of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)

HSE | 26.4.2019

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