Following demand from environmental groups, two major fabric standard setters, bluesign and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC), have stated that they intend to exclude PFASs from their specifications between now and 2024.
If implemented, it might lead to hundreds of textile companies around the world, including Levi Strauss, Nike, Target, and WL Gore, accelerating their efforts to transition away from persistent substances.
An environmental group requested that bluesign, ZDHC, Oeko-Tex, and the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM) "immediately revise all of [their] certifications to restrict the use of all PFAS compounds in both products and product manufacture" in early April (see box). "It is crucial that you hold your membership to the highest possible standards and reflect the growing consensus that the entire class of PFASs must be phased out," the NGO alliance said.
Bluesign told Chemical Watch that it decided last month to phase out all existing bluesign-approved PFASs by July 2023, and all PFAS-treated bluesign-approved fabrics by July 2024, in response to inquiries about the letter. This provides a "short but clear schedule," according to the report.
Similarly, ZDHC said its future revised manufacturing restricted substances list (MRSL) will limit the deliberate use of all functional finishes based on [perfluorinated compounds] PFCs, save for foreseen derogations under EU law, such as protective products.Wet processors are expected to stop accepting PFC-containing material deliveries once the MRSL is announced later this year.
Meanwhile, this year, AFIRM established a taskforce to develop suggestions to totally phase out the chemicals, which would ideally be incorporated in a future version of the AFIRM RSL," according to the organization.
Due to widespread disagreement over how to identify and detect the substances, account for uncertainties, and allow important applications, the membership body noted the difficulties of matching comprehensive industry-led prohibitions with unfolding article laws.
Chemical Watch said that Oeko-Tex is evaluating the advocacy groups' request and is fine-tuning the details and preparing the implementation as well as the analytical procedures to handle several more of the compounds. It said it will continue to monitor scientific findings and regulations on PFCs and PFOAs and revise our limits as needed.
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