Global textile group reports on hazardous substances progress

Improving the textile industry’s environmental

GMT 06:53 2015 Tuesday ,12 May

Sriyadithatextile - Improving the textile industry’s environmental

Environment Safety for Textile Industry
Courtesy Google

Key achievements and plans towards improving the textile industry’s environmental performance have been set out in the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) group's latest annual report. 

Last year, the group, which is made up of 21 major apparel and footwear brands, released a list of manufacturing restricted substances (MRSL). It also issued a framework for prioritising hazardous chemicals for elimination or substitution and a “research list”- a list of prioritised chemicals for which alternatives do not exist and on which the group will focus its research efforts (CW 5 June 2014). 

The latest report, covering 2014, says that by encouraging key stakeholders to develop alternatives to chemicals on the research list, the group hopes to move these substances more rapidly onto the MRSL so that they can be phased out of the supply chain.

Chemicals on the research list, for which safe limits are being sought, include ethylbenzene, methanol, phenol, 2-(2-methoxyethoxy)-ethanol and 2-methoxypropanol. Substances for which the group is seeking safer alternatives include dimethyl formamide (DMF), n,n-dimethylacetamide (DMAC) and toluene.

The group has started research on alternatives to short-chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which members say are a replacement for long-chain PFCs, until a safer substitute is found. However, the group acknowledged this may take many years and, in a few cases, there may never be a suitable alternative.

Eleven chemical guidance sheets to support the MRSL have been issued on toluene, nonylphenol, nonylphenol ethoxylates, long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids, phthalates, halogenated solvents, organotins, short-chain chlorinated paraffins, chlorophenols, chlorinated benzenes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons/naphthalene. They are available in English, Hindi, Kannada, Urdu and simplified Chinese.

The group is developing an MRSL compliance framework to verify chemical formulations and a draft document is currently under review. There are also plans to update the MRSL to include limits for leather processing.

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