MRSL Chemicals Part 2: Understanding Chlorophenols, Dyes, Flame Retardants and Glycols

Published 20th March 2019

The ZDHC MRSL contains over 140 separate CAS number chemicals which can be placed into groups. The full list of chemical groups can be seen on our MRSL Testing page. Below we will briefly describe the key legislation relating to some of these chemical groups. Further detailed information is available through the Chem-MAP programme.

Chlorophenols

Aromatic organic compounds, with up to 5 chlorine molecules bonded to a phenol ring. They can be used in wood preservatives, textile impregnation and as a bactericide in tanning and paper industries. The hazards associated with some of these chemicals include:

  • Carcinogenic
  • Skin sensitising
  • Toxic when inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin
  • Very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects
  • Causes serious eye irritation
  • Some can be fatal if swallowed

 

Relevant Chemical Regulations

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

Global legislation around chlorinated phenols can be varied. The most stringent restriction currently for leather comes from Korean legislation which specifies a limit of 0.5 mg/kg for infants and 5 mg/kg for all other leather products.

In addition to finished material restrictions; Pentachlorophenol (PCP) is restricted in substances and mixtures under Annex XVII of EU REACH Regulations, at a limit of 0.1%.

 

Dyes – Disperse (sensitising)

Disperse dyes are sparingly soluble in water. The dye fibres are in fact dispersed within a solution. The hazards associated with these chemicals include:

  • Skin sensitising
  • Carcinogenic

 

Relevant Chemical Regulations

Several countries have regulations regarding the use of disperse dyes under the food and commodity goods laws; most notably the Food, Commodity and Feed Code (LFGB) in Germany and the Safety Quality Mark Act for textiles in South Korea.

 

Flame Retardants

Man-made products that are added to a wide range of products, including for industrial use, to make them less flammable. They are commonly found in plastics, textiles and electronic equipment. The issues and hazards associated with them include:

  • Chronic toxicity
  • Endocrine disrupters
  • Immune suppression
  • Carcinogenic

 

Relevant Chemical Regulations

The control and restriction of flame retardants, specifically brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, is varied globally. In the EU alone, these are restricted under the following regulations:

  • REACH (SVHC and Annex XVII)
  • RoHS
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
  • Water Framework Directive (WFD)

In the US, there are many state laws placing restrictions on flame retardants, as well as requirements set out under the federal CPSC regulations.

 

Glycols

Glycols are organic compounds containing two alcohol groups. They can be used as solvents in printing inks for leather. They improve levelness for baking finishes and can also be used as an intermediate in the manufacturing of plasticisers. The issues and hazards associated with them include:

  • Causes irritation to the eyes and respiratory system

 

If you are interested in learning more about the ZDHC MRSL and its future impact on your business please contact info@chem-map.com or call +44 (0)1604 679 999 to speak to one of our team of chemical regulatory experts.

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