EU regulation stipulates that chemicals used in industry should be registered, evaluated and authorised (REACH) so that harmful substances can be identified and appropriate measures taken to ensure that they do not pose a threat to health or the environment. Legislation also requires chemicals to be classified, labelled and packaged in the correct way (CLP).
Not only has RPS Netherlands been engaged in support activities in this regard for European Commission projects on an on-going basis, but it is also leading a consortium, which provides expert advice to the Netherlands National Health Institute (RIVM).
An important, but as yet largely un-investigated issue within the field of Occupational Health is the correlation between chemicals in textile products and allergic reactions. RPS Advies-en Ingenieursbureau has been asked on behalf of the European Commission to evaluate the causal link between the two. A team of toxicological and textile experts will lead a study to support a proposal for Appropriated Risk Management Measures within the context of existing EU legislation.
The evaluation will be carried out with the help of occupational skin and allergy databases and will take into consideration existing restrictions on consumer goods, uses/functions of textile products and quantity of chemicals used. Desk research will establish a list of potential allergenic chemicals in textile products. Consultation will take place via interviews and surveys using computational tools.
In order to select appropriate chemicals to be tested, allergic reactions and substances and mixtures, which could cause allergic reactions, will be defined, relevant existing legislation will be looked at and existing literature and epidemiological data will be reviewed. Furthermore, market analysis of substances used in textile products will be carried out.
Other activities, which have been carried out by the team in The Netherlands includes the analysis of a chemical inventory published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to determine the potential risks of certain chemicals.
The fact that the Netherlands team has now been called upon to facilitate the delivery of the specific requirements of the REACH and CLP frameworks in individual EU countries, is a sure sign of the esteem with which it is held in this field.