The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) recently announced a 6 month public consultation on two proposed restrictions of commonly used chemicals. One relates to the solvent, 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone and the other the surfactant Nonylphenol (NP) and it’s ethoxylates (NPE). The restrictions have been proposed as a result of risks posed to human health and to the environment.
The first chemical, 1-methyl-2-pyrrolidone is a common solvent used in a variety of applications including the pharmaceutical sector, manufacture of polymers, construction products, cleaning agents and agrochemicals. The concern related to the use of this substance lies in the fact that it has potential developmental effects on the unborn child.
Should the proposal be accepted, future use of the chemical will be limited to those uses where exposure through inhalation to the chemical can be maintained below a specified exposure limit and where dermal contact is avoided by preventative measures.
The second restriction relates to the placing on the market of textiles containing nonylphenol and nonylphenol ethoxylates, including fabric accessories and interior textile articles that can be washed in water. The concern for these substances is that they are readily available in water courses and are known to have adverse effects on aquatic life. Should this proposal be accepted, importers and retailers of textiles and textile articles will have to ensure that such products do not contain NP and NPE at concentrations of 100mg/kg textile in order to be permitted to be placed on the market in the EU.