Research list issued for hazardous textile chemicals Print Thursday, 19 June 2014 ShareThisZDHC LONDON – The ZDHC Group has issued a new ‘research list’ which outlines its research and development efforts to prioritise replacements for substances that currently do not have safer alternatives and that are restricted on its recently released manufacturing restricted substance list MRSL. In the list, the ZDHC also says that for some end-uses there may never be ‘suitable alternatives’ to fluorine-based chemistry for oil and water repellent fabrics.The ZDHC Group, which aims to reach zero discharge of hazardous chemicals from textile supply chains by 2020, has today unveiled a new ‘research list’ that identifies a range of potentially hazardous substances which it is analysing in order to identify and develop new alternatives before these chemicals are moved on to its MRSL for supply chain phase out.Both the research list and the MRSL will be updated regularly as data become available.Interestingly, the ZDHC admits: “Though for some chemicals, substitutes could be many years away.” And in particular on the ‘research list’ it also acknowledges that for perfluorinated compounds PFC’s commonly used in stain and water repellent coatings: “There is, according to some authorities, a potential risk that short-chain PFCs may have comparable risks to long chain PFCs.”As such, the ZDHC has placed short-chain C6, C4 based PFC on its research list to demonstrate “we are working with stakeholders to find replacements for short-chain PFCs. We fully acknowledge that this may take many years. As long as no safer alternative for durable water, oil and stain repellency and soil release with satisfactory performance level is found, some brands will continue using short-chain PFCs on their consumer products.”The ZDHC also notes: “In a few cases, due to the end use of the textile e.g., medical field, personal protective equipment, military, performance requirements must be considered more important than potential environmental risks. In these few cases, we acknowledge that there may never be suitable alternatives.”Other chemical substances on the research list include dimethyl formamide as a solvent for PU coatings, during the processing of artificial leather. This hazardous substance can also be used in the formulation of surfactants, liquid dyes and fluorescent whitening agents. It is also the solvent used during the manufacture of acrylic fibres and some plastics, as well as the main part of the solvent mixture or exclusively the solvent for PU coatings.