Proposed restrictions on skin sensitisers
If adopted, these new restrictions will have important implications for suppliers and manufacturers of consumer goods in Europe.
Image © Publicdomainphotos | Dreamstime.com
Growing concerns about the health impacts of skin-sensitising chemicals in footwear and clothing have prompted a proposal to impose new restrictions upon these substances in consumer goods. It is estimated that five million people in Europe are already sensitised to such chemicals, with up to 180,000 new cases developing annually. For this reason, a proposal was submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to impose restrictions on such chemicals under REACH Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 Annex XVII, and in 2020, the ECHA committees for socio-economic analysis and risk assessment announced their support for this proposal.
The proposed restriction includes chemicals which are classified as ‘Category 1’, ‘1A’ or ‘1B’ skin sensitisers under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, which includes formaldehyde, chromium VI, nickel and cobalt compounds. It is also intended to apply restrictions to a number of disperse dyes that are known to have skin sensitising properties, but which do not have a harmonised classification. If adopted, these new restrictions will have important implications for suppliers and manufacturers of consumer goods in Europe, who will need to ensure that their products are compliant with the new legislation. The proposed restrictions will apply to a range of consumer products, including footwear, clothing and furniture upholstery. However, products which are classified as personal protective equipment (PPE) under Regulation 2016/425/EU will be exempt from the restrictions, as will items of jewellery, glasses and sunglasses, filling materials, and parts of footwear that do not come into contact with the skin.
Following the support of the two ECHA committees, the proposal will be submitted to the European Commission for review, and the decision on whether to impose the restrictions will be taken following consultation with EU member states.
This article was originally published on page 3 of the March 2021 issue of SATRA Bulletin.