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Lack of regulatory coherence in EU leads to use of hazardous chemicals in textiles

A Norwegian study reveals, the absence of coherent regulation in the EU is leading to potentially hazardous chemicals being continuously used in all stages of the production process in the textiles industry. This leads to more use of chemicals and less sustainable waste management.

Smart, funded by EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020, focuses on the environmental and social footprint of global supply chains for clothes and mobile phones. It comprises researchers from 25 institutions from around the world. It started in March 2016 and will run until February 2020.

Reforms adopted by the EU to promote sustainability often give a broad scope to member states on how to implement these. Unfortunately, member states tend to aim for minimum implementation, out of fears of jeopardising their own competitive position or that of their businesses.

That, however, does not mean a responsible business would use more chemicals within the current EU regulatory framework. On the contrary, ample set of high level industry standards have for decades ensured strict levels of protection.