Legging lovers likely had no idea their beloved stretchy pants were under threat earlier this month after the World Health Organization recommended listing 1,4-butanediol (BDO), a key substance in the making of spandex fibers, as a dangerous drug under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.
Spandex manufacturers breathed a sigh of relief on Mar. 13 when the annual meeting in Vienna, Austria, of the United Nations (UN) Commission on Narcotic Drugs unanimously rejected a proposal to ban BDO, eliminating the immediate risk of restrictions on the substance.
“As the delegates noted, such a classification would have severe economic consequences, disrupt many crucial industries and affect country development agendas across the global economy,” the American Chemistry Council said in a statement.
The global market demand of BDO is estimated to be 1.9 million tons per year. If the UN had ruled in favor of WHO’s recommendation, consumer products that would been impacted or no longer available would include jeans, swimwear, legwear, medical compression hosiery, intimate apparel and shapewear, to name a few.