Reach4Textiles: purpose and aspects of market control

Senza categoria, Security and Protection

The final aim of the Reach4Textiles project is to evaluate, based on the REACh regulation , products placed on the market both from UE and extra-UE countries, such as China and India. The study, seen as a demonstration case, will serve to provide data on the presence of harmful substances on tested products and will allow interaction with the control bodies on the market. Many companies are producing textiles and clothing all over the world, and they all must fulfil the requirements of Annex XVII of REACh, when they bring articles on the EU market. Each company choses a certain strategy to make sure that all limit values are respected. But there are also companies, that pay less attention to those requirements. They also succeed in bringing their textiles and garments on the EU market, because the probability of being subject to control is small. This leads to market distortion and that is where market surveillance enters the picture. EU market surveillance is highly complex and places the highest demands on the authorities. A functioning EU market surveillance is the essential prerequisite for the establishment of a level-playing field that works for all market participants and in particular for REACh.

The project aims to test the products placed on the market based on specific categories (e.g. babywear, nightwear, outerwear, etc.) using standardized analytical techniques and to evaluate the results obtained on the basis of the presence/absence of contaminants. The role of market surveillance is very important but there are often problems with market surveillance as the test results are often not comparable both nationally and within the EU and therefore lead to legal uncertainty. Another aspect is that due to different responsibilities of the authorities within the member states, different knowledge of testing and evaluation procedures is applied, which often does not apply to the textile sector. The knowledge and expertise we can bring to the project is therefore of high importance to understand these processes and to provide market surveillance authorities with important tools for the further development of a coordinated EU-wide market surveillance expert exchange. All these aspects lead to the conclusion that a much closer collaboration is needed between the involved market surveillance authorities, control labs, the textile and clothing industry and their representatives and the legislator. This project aims at bringing these actors together in sharing knowledge on textiles, chemical methods to make market surveillance more effective and to contribute to a level playing field in the textile market.

The project is structured in such a way as to achieve the pre-established objectives:

 

  • obtain a deeper knowledge of the quantity of textile materials on the market that fall under the REACH regulation and which type, or classes of materials are more prone than others to potential non-conformities; for example, a greater presence of material that does not comply with the regulation is suspected where there is the presence of PVUs, prints / accessories and particularly “strong” colors (red, blue and black);
  • create awareness at market surveillance, disseminate the lessons learned on testing for harmful chemicals and to bring market surveillance actors together to exchange best practices and to provide training for more effective market control.

 

For the first objective, samples of different textile materials present in local and city markets, in shops (brand-shop and fast-fashion) and through e-commerce platforms (high and low cost) will be collected. These samples will be analyzed, and the results of the tests will be discussed in meetings with the project partners.

The training, deriving from the second objective, will be based on the report “Proposals for the improvement of market surveillance in textile consumer goods” and will initially focus in a workshop on the main results of the activities. The positives and shortcomings in the surveillance of the EU textile market under the REACh regulation will be illustrated. This will involve presenting the REACh expertise available, the best practices identified on cooperation tactics, the methodologies used and ultimately the areas that need improvement to achieve more effective textile market surveillance. In addition, this workshop will also show the risk-based decision tree used for the selection and testing of fabrics, as well as the first results of the European-based sampling campaign. This and other subsequent dedicated workshops are organized in collaboration with SMI (i.e. Sistema Moda Italia) to involve market surveillance actors. The presence of associations representing companies in the sector – primarily Euratex at European level as a project partner and SMI for the Italian side – is fundamental for the connection and mutual information between Italian and European companies, on the one hand, and control management authority, on the other hand, also to encourage regular and fair competition in the context of current legislation.

 

Contact:

Roberto Vannucci, Responsabile Ricerca e Innovazione Multisettoriale

e-mail: roberto.vannucci@centrocot.it

Serena Venegoni, Ricerca e Innovazione Multisettoriale

e-mail: serena.venegoni@centrocot.it

Author: Serena Venegoni

Multisectoral Research and Innovation Dept.