Restricted Substances List (RSLs)
At Coats we are the leading thread manufacturer, and we believe our Coats Restricted Substance Lists (both our Products RSL and and our Manufacturing RSL) are the most stringent in the textile industry.
We take on board what our brands restricted substances are, so we ensure that our customers individual chemical requirements are met and included on the Coats RSL. Every year we are ensuring the most stringent of standards, as our customers’ lowest permitted chemical limits become our limits.
From our experience of interacting with brands, retailers and manufacturers across the world, it is clear that many industry players already have compliance high on their agendas and are investing to improve standards globally. There are many outstanding initiatives in action as, for example many companies are now committing to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their supply chains.
At Coats, we strongly believe that compliance adds sustainable value to our business and by extension, to our customers’ businesses. We are proud of our achievements to date and are committed to continuous improvement.
We are committed to ensuring the safety of our end consumers when using our products. As a result we continually respond to feedback on product performance and continue to work with our suppliers to ensure the safety of our raw materials and product components.
Our aim is to maintain zero incidence of product safety related issues, and our goal is to successfully achieve that year on year. We continue to review the risks associated with our existing and new product lines and product safety is an important issue in new product development.
Coats’ Product Safety programme ensures that all products supplied to the customer are safe to use and do not contain any potentially allergenic or harmful substances. The programme is underpinned by rigorously enforcing our Coats MRSL.
We maintain a Restricted Substances List (RSL) which incorporates the requirements of all the major internationally recognised environmental standards and legal regulations (for example REACH, Oeko-Tex, The State of California’s Proposition 65, CPSIA) as well as our customers’ and brands’ own restricted substances lists, and industry lists such as ZDHC and bluesign®. It extends to some 900 chemicals and all of our suppliers are required to comply with it. It is rigorously enforced. We believe that Coats Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (CMRSL) is the most comprehensive RSL in the textile industry and it has been referenced by other organisations as best practice. In 2019, we introduced an additional Restricted Substances List which is particularly applicable to packaging materials, following guidelines issued by the AFIRM Group. All suppliers of packaging and make-up materials must comply with the limits which are set out in this standard.
In 2012, we placed a ‘Usage ban’ in our CRSL on all of the 14 hazardous chemicals identified by ZDHC. These chemical groups are: AP & APEOs, Chlorobenzenes & Chlorotoluenes, Chlorophenols, Azo dyes, Carcinogenic dyes, Banned Disperse dyes, Flame retardants, Glycols, Halogenated solvents, Organotin compounds, Perfluorinated & polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), Phthalates, Poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and Volatile organic compound (VOCs). We worked with our suppliers who used some of these substances in the production of our process chemicals to first of all identify them in their base chemicals and intermediates, and then systematically purge them from their supply chain.
For example, in June 2012 we found very low, but detectable levels of one of these ‘priority chemicals’ – an alkyl phenol ethoxylate (APEO) – on one of our thread products. APEOs, although commonly found in washing and cleaning products, are becoming banned since they are endocrine disruptors in humans and animals. Although the measured amount of APEO in this thread product was well below the current industry limits, we immediately tracked down the APEO source and worked with the raw material supplier to replace the non-compliant spin finish with an APEO-free alternative.
In 2014 we embarked on a project to replace all long chain perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) used in our water resistant products with less harmful ‘C6’ perfluorinated chemicals. Extensive trials were carried out on a number of products to achieve optimal performance and with no deterioration after prolonged use. We completed the transition from C8 to C6-based PFCs before the end of Q3 2014, thus, we have eliminated from our supply chain all traces of two of the most persistent carcinogens associated with water resistant textile finishes - Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). C6-based chemicals were replaced by C4-PFCs or non-PFC chemicals in 2017 and any remaining C4-PFC chemicals are now being phased out. A phased approach was adopted for the elimination of PFCs, as (i) the chemical industry took some time to respond to the need for fluorine-free, durable, anti-wick finishes and (ii) it was important that any performance differences in the end product were not observed by the end-user.
These are just some of the ways our CRSL is setting industry standards.