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Apparel Brands Release Harmonized Restricted Substances List

A group of leading apparel and footwear brands including H&M, Levi Strauss & Co., PVH and Adidas, has released a restricted substances list with the goal of both reducing the use of harmful materials in the supply chain and harmonizing testing standards and methods among retailers.

The Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management Group (AFIRM), which started up in 2004, released the list last month. The group had already developed RSL guidance in 2011, but the recently released RSL provides up-to-date limits based on the most current regulations, with potential uses of the chemicals and corresponding test methods to ease of use.

AFIRM’s RSL, according a statement from the group, “Is a tool for suppliers to establish chemical management knowledge and processes, build base compliance with AFIRM member chemical restrictions, and provide a common base for analytical testing.”

Each brand still settles on and communicated its testing requirements and acceptance of test reports to its vendors, and each has developed its own guidelines for managing chemicals in textile supply chains and some provide training for their respective suppliers.

AFIRM said it will update its RSL, which can be downloaded on its website, each year so that it always meets the latest legal requirements and further advances the industry.

“The leading brands that created this list expect other brands across the industry to adopt the AFIRM RSL over time, which will significantly reduce confusion in the supply chain,” the statement noted.