When considering a phase out, you need to take several things into consideration. External requirements refers to things such as laws that forbid you using a certain chemical etc. while your company’s specific in-house priorities refers to your particular products.
Chemicals that are already banned or restricted for your particular purpose need your immediate attention. Substances that are listed for priority attention (e.g. on the EU Candidate List) give you more time, but you should initiate the search for alternatives as soon as possible.
- Supply chain
Your customer or others in the supply chain might ask you to avoid a certain chemical or tell you that a specific chemical will be unavailable in the future. In those cases you need to agree with the other party on the timeline for phasing out.
- “Hot” chemicals and consumer preferences
Some chemicals gain extra attention in the media and consumers become aware and ask for alternative products that are free from them. It is wise to be prepared by monitoring which chemicals are being discussed and highlighted by campaigning NGOs, otherwise it may hurt your brand.
For those chemicals where there is no external pressure, you need to set your own priorities according to company policy. The following aspects may be of relevance:
- Chemicals used in products intended for children.
- Other types of products that are especially “close” to the consumer: items related to food and feeding, bed linen, underwear etc.
- The type of hazard in relation to the product. Sensitisers, for example, are of very high concern in contact with the skin, while substances with environmental hazards are particularly problematic when they have low wash fastness on the textile.
- Chemicals that are extensively used in high volumes.
- “Flagship products” of particular importance to the company and company reputation.