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EU to Limit NPEs in Textile Products

03-08-2016 06:57 PM CET | Energy & Environment

Press release from: SGS Consumer Testing Services

/ PR Agency: portrino GmbH
Interior fabrics as well as clothing items and other textiles subject to NPE limits.

Interior fabrics as well as clothing items and other textiles subject to NPE limits.

On January 14, 2016, the European Commission published a regulation in the Official Journal of the EU to restrict the use of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) in textile articles and to amend Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH).

Newly Produced Textile Products Must Comply

The restriction applies to any unfinished, semi-finished or finished products comprising at least 80% textile fibers or any other product containing a part comprising at least 80% textile fibers including products such as clothing, accessories, interior textiles, fibers, yarn, fabrics and knitted panels. The restriction prohibits the articles containing a concentration of nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) equal to or greater than 0.01% (100 mg/kg) of the textile article or of each part of the textile article that can reasonably be expected to be washed in water during its normal lifecycle.

According to the regulation, second-hand textile articles and new textile articles produced exclusively from recycled textiles are exempt from the restriction. This exemption applies because it is assumed that the articles made from recycled textiles will have been washed several times already and will therefore contain negligible amounts of NPEs.

Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) Can Be a Source of Pollution

NPEs are important to the textile industry because their excellent detergent or emulsifying properties make them suitable for a wide variety of applications such as cleaning, coating, dyeing and as a rinsing agent. However, textile articles containing NPEs can be washed, and the resulting water containing these toxic substances can enter the aquatic environment to form nonylphenols (NPs), a family of potentially hazardous and hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Transition Period Planned to Ease Compliance

There will be a transition period of 60 months between the adoption of the restriction and its applicability. The transition period gives manufacturers and producers of textile articles sufficient time to adapt their production processes in order to comply with the restriction.


[1] Safeguards. EU Notifies the Addition of Textile-Containing Products to Reach Restriction. April 2015 (

[2] EUR-Lex. Commission Regulation (Eu) 2016/26 of 13 January 2016 amending Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) as regards nonylphenol ethoxylates (

About SGS Services for the Consumer Goods and Retail Industry

SGS Global Softlines has an extensive network of over 40 laboratories worldwide, with a strong team of committed professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Its internationally accredited state-of-the-art testing laboratories offer a comprehensive range of physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. SGS helps companies ensure quality, performance and compliance with international, industrial and regulatory standards worldwide, for example REACH (

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact an SGS expert.

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 85,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,800 offices and laboratories around the world.

SGS Consumer Goods and Retail
Kris Wan
Senior Manager
Global Softlines Development Office
SGS Hong Kong

t: +852 27747492

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