Restriction on using certain chemical substances in textile and leather products

Textile and leather articles containing certain chemical substances, group of substances or mixtures must not be placed on the EU market or are severely restricted.

See Annex XVII to Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council (REACH Regulation) (OJ L-396 30/12/2006)(CELEX 32006R1907).

According to this Regulation, the following chemical substances, group of substances or mixtures are not allowed in textile and leather articles:


Tshirts that protect the wearer

Do T-shirts protect the wearer against health and safety hazards? If so, they are considered ‘personal protective equipment’ and must comply with EU health and safety standards for design, manufacture, materials, testing, instructions, manufacturer provided information, etc. To help you meet the requirements, the EU has developed harmonised standards. If your T-shirts comply, they are considered to comply with EU requirements for imports also.

Each T-shirt must bear the CE marking in a visible, easily legible form, on a label that includes the identification number of the body that granted the marking, if applicable.

Your product also must pass a conformity assessment. This may require an independent body designated by a European country to assess whether the product, in this case, a T-shirt, complies with EU requirements. See the search form for details on harmonised standards, CE marking criteria and conformity assessments.


How to label textiles

All textile products marketed in the EU must be labelled. Accompanying commercial documents can replace labels for products not being offered to the end consumer. T-shirts should be marked individually if they are sold one by one. Exception: if 2 or more T shirts with the same fibre content are part of an indivisible set, they can carry a single label.

T-shirt labels must indicate fibre content in a clear, legible manner, separate from other information. In certain countries, a translation into the language(s) of the European country to which you are exporting is required.

What is the T-shirt made of?

What must appear on the label?

100% single type of fibre

‘100%’, ‘pure’ or ‘all’ before the fibre name.

85% single type of fibre

‘85%’ or ‘85% minimum’ before the fibre name, or by the percentage composition of the product.

Mixed fibres, none of which account for 85% of total weight

Name and percentage of at least the 2 main fibres.

Mixed fibres, each accounting for less than 10% of total weight

Either the name or percentage of each fibre, or simply ‘other fibres’. If you state the name of a fibre accounting for less than 10% of total weight, you must give the full percentage composition of the product.

Several parts, each made of a different fibre

Fibre content of each part. Not required for parts accounting for less than 30% of total weight.

There are specific rules regarding terms to be used:

  • ‘Cotton’ is reserved exclusively for the fiber obtained from the bolls of the cotton plant (gossypium).
  • ‘Cotton linen union’ is reserved for products with a pure cotton warp and a pure flax weft, in which the percentage of flax accounts for at least 40 % of the total weight of the fabric. You must specify the exact composition.

See My export for the latest EU rules on textile labelling.


Eco-label for textile products

Manufacturers, importers, service providers, traders or retailers can apply for the eco-label – to which criteria regarding textile fiber, processes, chemicals used and fitness for use. Send your application to the European country where you want to market your product.

National authorities will assess whether your T-shirts comply with the ecolabel criteria and verification requirements. If so, they will conclude a contract with you covering the terms of use of the label, which will apply to all EU countries.

The eco-label can be displayed on any part of the T-shirt and can be used from the date it is awarded, until the end of the validity period. Application for and use of the eco-label is subject to a fee.

See also:

Factsheet on how to export cotton t-shirts to the EU? (needs same update)