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Primark Expands Pilot Chemical Testing Program

European clothing retailer, Primark recently announced the results of a pilot project it conducted in China involving six factories within its supply chain as part of its commitment to Greenpeace’s detox campaign, which encourages fashion brands to commit to eliminating all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains by 2020.

Primark has since decided to expand the program to more of its suppliers in China, as well as in India and Bangladesh, to train more factories in chemical management.

The pilot investigation’s goal was to identify chemicals used in the company’s dyeing and washing mills and to conduct waste water testing. Out of the six factories selected, three were dyeing mills, one was a dyeing and printing mill and two were garment washing mills.

Four factories were found to have their own waste water treatment plants, while the other two sent their waste for treatment at neighboring facilities.

None of the water samples tested contained levels of any chemicals above 1 ppm (one part per million). In many cases, the chemicals were either not detected at all or were below this level. These levels are considered very low for dyehouse effluent, Primark reports.

The company has also unveiled three case studies, showing how certain chemicals, including Chlorophenol, PFOA and NPEO, can be substituted with safer alternatives made by global dye and chemicals business, Dystar.

The fashion retailer has also updated its Restricted Substances List to support the phase out of hazardous chemicals.

Primark joined Greenpeace’s global detox commitment in February 2014.