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BRUSSELS – The EU has vowed to take a hardline approach to textile and apparel goods imported from non-EU manufacturers by ensuring they fully comply with REACH chemicals legislation. European policy makers, who say they want to ensure a level global playing field, made the announcement as the European Chemicals Agency announced the second Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation review, which is now ten years old.

A raft of new measures have been proposed to further improve REACH’s impact. These are aimed at boosting the quality of registration dossiers submitted by chemicals companies, simplifying the authorisation process, and ensuring a level playing field between the EU and non-EU companies. The European Commission also wants to further support SMEs in their compliance and enhance enforcement by national authorities.

Internal Market and Industry Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: “REACH is the most advanced and comprehensive chemical legislation in the world, and many other jurisdictions have followed the EU’s lead in regulating chemicals. EU industry now makes chemicals safer for citizens and the environment. We need to build on this success and ensure that EU manufacturers do not face competitive disadvantages compared to non-EU manufacturers, notably by making sure that imported goods comply with EU rules on chemicals.”

Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella added: “A majority of Europeans are worried about being exposed to hazardous chemicals. Through REACH, the EU is successfully addressing their concerns, generating knowledge about chemicals and banning harmful ones on the EU market. REACH is already inspiring chemical legislation in other countries and further improvements will allow us to protect our citizens’ health and the environment even better.”

The European Chemicals Agency recently published research which outlined a very high level of non-compliance against EU chemical standards for a number of substances, formulations and articles.

The findings covered 14 different restriction entries in REACH Annex XVII, including substances which are regularly used in the global textile and apparel industries.

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