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BRUSSELS – Proposals to restrict the use of carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic (CMR) substances in clothing, textiles and footwear have been approved by EU member states following proposals by the European Commission. Revised limits will be applied to 33 CMRs, and will kick-in in two years, after review by the European Parliament and Council. In 2015, the Commission published a preliminary list of 286 CMRs it proposed to restrict.

The CMR substances to be banned under REACH in the Commission proposal may be present in clothing, textiles, and footwear either from the production process or because they have been added intentionally to give specific properties such as to prevent shrinkage or make fabric crease-resistant.

Consumers can be exposed to these hazardous substances through skin contact, inhalation or unintentional ingestion of dust released from the textile fibres. Small children are also at risk due to a possible oral exposure.

The Commission proposes to limit the exposure to 33 CMR chemicals by restricting the placing on the market of articles containing them. As from the entry into force of the restriction, clothing and related articles, textiles and footwear containing the listed substances, whether they are produced within the EU or imported into the EU, are not allowed to be placed on the EU market.

The proposal follows discussions with relevant stakeholders, in particular citizens, public authorities, industry and trade associations, NGOs and Member States’ representatives.


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