The European Union to Ban Carcinogens in Fast Fashion

The European Union is set to take a groundbreaking step in the move to clean up the fashion industry. After several months of studying the effect of nearly 300 substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR), The European Union Commission announced it intends to its results to enforce a restriction of such substances in a range of consumer articles including textiles and apparel. 

“Textile articles and clothing were selected as a first test-case because of the high likelihood of a prolonged—or multiple short-term—exposure of consumers to CMR substances being potentially present in those articles,” the Commission said in a statement. “The list of CMR substances (individual substances or groups) covered by this possible restriction would be added as a specific appendix to Annex XVII to REACH and could be regularly updated, as appropriate.”

The products are divided into three groups: classified dyes, carcinogenic amines, other substances, and petroleum and coal stream substances, which can be used as raw materials in the supply chain. The list also includes phthalates, flame retardants and pigments, all harmful materials which have been found in brands such as Zara, Victoria Secret, Joe Fresh and others.

The list of toxic chemicals in clothes, which was compiled in collaboration with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and member states’ competent authorities, is a major step not only for the health of European citizens but also in admitting and substantiating the fact that fast fashion has a major toxicity problem.

Hopefully this report will go along way towards raising consumer awareness and force the fashion industry to finally clean up it's act.