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The Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes new EU legislation on textiles

News 12/1/2015

The Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes that the government should seek to introduce a specific Product Act on textiles within the EU. The aim would be to reduce risks associated with chemicals in articles such as clothing. The proposal is set out in a report being submitted today by the Swedish Chemicals Agency to the government.

“There are substances in textiles that can harm people and the environment. Moreover, it is difficult for companies, public agencies and consumers to obtain information on which chemical substances occur in textiles. A specific Product Act within the EU would be the most effective way of reducing the risks,” says Amelie Pedersen, Project Manager for the government assignment at the Swedish Chemicals Agency.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes in the report that the government initiate the development of specific product legislation within the EU that imposes uniform requirements concerning textiles. According to this proposal, the new EU legislation would cover substances of very high concern that can have a serious, long-term and permanent impact on human health or the environment. These substances may, for example, give rise to cancer, affect the ability to have children, or be harmful to the environment.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency wishes to explore the possibilities of extending existing restrictions on certain azo dye substances by way of REACH, the EU legislation on chemicals. These dyes are added to textiles and can be degraded into carcinogenic substances. The Agency also wishes to explore the possibilities of introducing labelling requirements within the EU which would cover allergenic substances in textiles.

In addition to this, the Swedish Chemicals Agency proposes that the government consider the need for a special investigation into a tax on clothing and soft furnishings. Financial instruments could act as a supplement pending legislation that would reduce the risks associated with dangerous substances in textiles.

Today’s report is the response of the Swedish Chemicals Agency to the government assignment requiring it to draw up proposals for measures that reduce the risks associated with dangerous substances in textiles. The Swedish Chemicals Agency has already initiated and is participating in several activities with the aim of reducing the risks associated with dangerous substances in textiles at national, EU and international level.

Read the report in full (PDF, in Swedish, summary in English on page 7)

For further information please contact:

Amelie Pedersen, Project Manager for the government assignment, + 46 8 519 41 244, +46 76 504 12 44

Björn Malmström, Press Officer, +46 8 519 41 338, +46 76 504 13 38

E-mail addresses to Chemicals Agency employees are written as follows: firstname.surname@kemi.se

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