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Web Exclusive | June 2019

Bluesign releases black limits for chemical products

On July 1, 2019, Bluesign will publish threshold limits for chemical substances in finished chemical products like auxiliaries or dyes as the bluesign SYSTEM BLACK LIMITS (BSBL). The compilation of substances is an extract of the bluesign TOOL which was introduced in 2002. 

All chemical substances regulated under the bluesign SYSTEM are managed via the bluesign TOOL, a web-based software application for chemical assessment and rating. The data for all chemicals registered in bluesign FINDER is supplied by system partners in the chemical industry. All bluesign SYSTEM PARTNERS follow a Responsible Care approach with excellent knowledge of Product Stewardship, and have outstanding Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety performance. This allows for a well-founded assessment of the respective chemical products, and limits for substances in chemical products (included in BSBL) as well as in consumer products (included in BSSL) can be derived.

The chemical substances listed on the BSBL are an extract from the bluesign TOOL and include all substances from the publicly available bluesign SYSTEM SUBSTANCE LIST (BSSL) for which a usage ban is defined. These include substances with carcinogenic, mutagenic, or reprotoxic properties, or those falling under the POPs regulation. In addition, the BSBL contains monomers such as acrylamide, acrylonitrile, or ethylene oxide. All these substances could be contained in polymers and must be monitored by system partners in the chemical industry during the manufacture of polymers, including the widely-used fatty alcohol ethoxylates. Textile industry relevant SVHC per the EU definition are mentioned in the BSBL directly with limits which are mostly lower than the EU threshold of 1000 ppm. For SVHCs which are not specifically listed, there is a fixed threshold limit of 1000 ppm.

The bluesign TOOL includes not only the BSBL substances but also many other substances with limits in mixtures (e.g. dyes or auxiliaries). While the limits depend on the relevant application situation and exposure scenario, the BSBL limits illustrate minimum threshold limits regardless of the type of application. A precautionary hazard-based approach is strictly followed. 
 
All chemicals registered in the bluesign FINDER, the world's first and most comprehensive positive list of commercially available chemical products, have passed the bluesign CHEMICAL ASSESSMENT and comply with the BSBL limits, and meet the highest requirements for product stewardship including on-site assessment of the chemical supplier.

The idea behind the bluesign SYSTEM BLACK LIMITS is different from the MRSL approach. Unlike MRSL, the BSBL is not intended to be sent out to the supply chain for the purpose of obtaining a less substantial and conclusive compliance declaration from the supply chain maze. Rather, its main purpose is to manage hazardous substances in finished chemical products. When limits are publicly available, transparency increases. With our Input Stream Management that includes chemical assessment and management – of which the BSBL is just one building block – Bluesign is a driving force behind a powerful, conscientious, and sustainable switch to safer chemicals in textile manufacturing.
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