Regulation (EU) 2016/26 of January 13, 2016 amends REACH Annex XVII as regards nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs).
NPEs, according to Paragraph 1, “shall not be placed on the market after 3 February 2021 in textile articles which can reasonably be expected to be washed in water during their normal lifecycle, in concentrations equal to or greater than 0,01 % by weight of that textile article or of each part of the textile article.”
Paragraph 1 shall not apply to the placing on the market of second-hand textile articles or of new textile articles produced, without the use of NPE, exclusively from recycled textiles. This is probably due to the fact that second-hand textile articles has already been washed so many times that NPEs concentration should be very little.
“Textile article” means any unfinished, semi-finished or finished product which is composed of at least 80 % textile fibers by weight, or any other product that contains a part which is composed of at least 80 % textile fibers by weight, including products such as clothing, accessories, interior textiles, fibers, yarn, fabrics and knitted panels.’
Risk assessment has associated NPEs with persistent and endocrine disruptive properties mainly to fish and other water-dwelling organisms. NPEs degrade in the environment to form nonylphenol which is even more harmful because it is a stable metabolite strongly adsorbing to soil, sludge and sediment.
NPEs are used in different industries as detergents, emulsifiers and surfactants. In the textile industry NPE’s are still used in many extra-EU countries as detergents in washing processes, as coloring aids in the dying process and fabric softening.
The Regulation will probably impact on wide range of textile products.
Sources: Regolamento (UE) 2016/26; UL Consumers Products News Alert, January 19, 2016.