MRSL Chemicals Part 4: Regulations on SCCPs, VOCs, Halogenated Solvents, Chlorobenzenes and Chlorotoluenes Explained

Published 28th May 2019

This month, the Chem-MAP® team have produced their final article highlighting MRSL chemicals such as Short Chained Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Halogenated Solvents, Chlorobenzenes and Chlorotoluenes. These MRSL chemicals can be found within the ZDHC MRSL CAS Chemicals list which the Chem-MAP® team can test to through the MRSL testing service.

Short Chained Chlorinated Paraffins (SCCPs)

SCCPs exist as a mixture of substances containing Chlorinated hydrocarbons with carbon chain lengths from 10 to 13 and a chlorine content ranging between 20 – 70%. They have many uses including their use in the metal industry as lubricants and coolants. SCCPs may be found in PVC, Leather, Rubber, Textiles and Paints. These compounds are widely used as flame retardants, but are also used as degreasers, metal cutting lubricants, coatings, finishes and fat liquoring agent in leather. The hazards associated with them include:

  • Bio-accumulative in environment
  • Damaging to aquatic species
  • Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP)
  • Suspected Carcinogen


Legislation around the world restricts or will soon restrict the use of SCCPs, including the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Regulation (at 1500ppm) in the European Union (EU). SCCPs are also included in the EU list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) of REACH (declarable limit of 1000ppm). They are also listed in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) as priority substances and by U.S. EPA as extremely hazardous substances.


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

These are a group of compounds that can easily form gases. The EU defines them as organic compounds having a boiling point less than or equal to 250oC at standard pressure. The hazards associated with them include:

  • Short term sensitization
  • Carcinogenic through long term exposure


Although there are established standards for the control of VOCs, such as the EH40 Workplace Exposure Limits; restrictions will typically vary between both jurisdiction and brand/retailer policy.


Halogenated Solvents

Halogenated solvents are a large class of substances defined as aliphatic chemical compounds that contain at least one halogen atom. They are often used for cleaning on an industrial scale along with some smaller cleaning applications. Also used in the manufacturing of pesticides and dyes. May be found in dyes, paints, coatings, adhesives and plastics. The issues and hazards associated with them include:

  • Carcinogenic
  • Toxic to human health
  • Long-term harm in aquatic environment from prolonged exposure


Legislation around the world, including in the European Union, restricts the use of certain halogenated solvents – limits will differ by chemical.  In addition, leading apparel and footwear brands have banned the use of many halogenated solvents in the production of their products. The halogenated solvents of greatest concern in the production of apparel and footwear should meet the following formulation limits (taken from ZDHC MRSL):

– 1,2-dichloroethane, CAS 107-06-2: 5 ppm (0.0005%)

– Methylene chloride, CAS 75-09-2: 5 ppm (0.0005%)

– Trichloroethylene, CAS 79-01-6: 40 ppm (0.004%)

– Tetrachloroethylene, CAS 127-18-4: 5 ppm (0.0005%)


Chlorobenzenes and Chlorotoluenes

These are aromatic organic compounds, otherwise known as chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbons. They consist of Carbon, Hydrogen and Chlorine arranged in a ring formation. They can be found within textiles and leather, dyes, deodorizers, fungicides and many more. They are often used in chemical manufacture as an intermediate. The issues and hazards associated with them include:

  • Long-term harm in aquatic environment from prolonged exposure
  • Skin sensitising
  • Toxic to aquatic organisms
  • Cancer causing


Legislation around the world restricts the use of some chlorobenzenes and chlorotoluenes in the production of apparel, footwear and accessories. Leading apparel and footwear brands have banned the use of chlorobenzenes and chlorotoluenes in production of their products.


View Previous MRSL Chemicals Articles

The Chem-MAP® team have produced four articles within this series, and you can access the previous three through the links below:

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