EU Revises Test Methods For Azocolourants In Textiles

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On 5 January 2021, new Commission Regulation 2020/2096  entered into force, amending, among other matters, the testing methods for azocolourants under the REACH Regulation.

Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) includes all the restrictions adopted in the framework of REACH and the previously applicable EU legislation. Each entry in the Annex shows a substance or a group of substances, or a substance in a mixture, and the consequent restriction conditions.

Entry 43 of Annex XVII sets out the existing restrictions for azocolourants and azodyes. Traders of clothing and textiles will likely be familiar with these restrictions as they have been in existence for a number of years. The restrictions apply to both textile and leather articles which may come into direct and prolonged contact with the human skin or oral cavity. A non‑exhaustive list of articles is provided, including clothing, footwear, toys, sleeping bags, gloves, wristwatch straps as well as handbags, purses/wallets, briefcases and chair covers. In a nutshell, Entry 43 bans a number of azodyes in detectable concentrations, i.e. above 30 mg/kg (0.003 % by weight) in the articles or in the dyed parts thereof.

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The regulation states that several of the listed testing methods are outdated and have been replaced by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) with more up‑to‑date testing methods.

European standardisation organisationReference and title of the harmonised standardReference of the superseded standard
CENEN ISO 17234-1:2015

Leather – Chemical tests for the determination of certain azo colorants in dyed leathers – Part 1: Determination of certain aromatic amines derived from azo colorants

EN ISO 17234-1:2010
CENEN ISO 17234-2:2011

Leather – Chemical tests for the determination of certain azo colorants in dyed leathers – Part 2: Determination of 4-aminoazobenzene

CEN ISO/TS 17234:2003
CENEN ISO 14362-1:2017

Textiles – Methods for determination of certain aromatic amines derived from azo colorants – Part 1: Detection of the use of certain azo colorants accessible with and without extracting the fibres

EN 14362-1:2012
CENEN ISO 14362-3:2017

Textiles – Methods for determination of certain aromatic amines derived from azo colorants – Part 3: Detection of the use of certain azo colorants, which may release 4-aminoazobenzene

EN 14362-3:2012’
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Other than the revision regarding azodyes mentioned above, new Commission Regulation 2020/2096 revises other parts of Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation. These include entries for pentachlorophenol and its salts and esters, bis(pentabromophenyl)ether and perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts; nonylphenol; and substances that are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or reproductive toxicant (CMR).

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