Did you know that around 80% of chemicals in Asia are either produced locally or come from unknown sources? There are no guarantees that some of these chemicals don’t contain traces of hazardous substances, making your products and supply chains vulnerable. In 2020, one in four imported products were found to be non-compliant with REACH and CLP*, with most cases focused on the presence of the restricted substances cadmium, lead, and nickel.
While uncertainty around chemical composition can be toxic for consumer confidence in general, brands and retailers have different setups, needs, and levels of awareness regarding compliance, risk, and sustainability:
- Some have mature testing programs in place and are responsive to existing pressures in their market. These companies would still benefit from a single test that can detect hundreds of substances with fast results, attractive pricing, strong service support, and the advantage of monitoring low-performing vendors and empowering high-performing vendors.
- Other companies focus on finished products only, meaning that when they detect a risky substance, it’s often too late to cancel the order. Testing articles when they’re finished or late in the process may lead to reproducing the entire line of articles and retesting, which can blow out budgets.
- Some companies have no system in place and no chemical or regulatory expertise but still want to offer the end-user a secure product. Generally speaking, all companies want to be more compliant and transparent.
As the use of recycled materials in products increases, the possibility of these materials containing unknown substances follows suit. Overall, better fashion begins with a bigger commitment to detect and address issues from the beginning, leading to less impact on the environment and society, empowering the best-performing suppliers, and focusing time and money on where the risks are high.
Our new solution: Chem Scan Check™
To support our partners in optimizing their testing strategies, we developed Chem Scan Check™ (CSC), which scans for more than 285 hazardous chemical substances in one go. Instead of waiting for a pass/fail outcome for expected chemicals with a traditional testing approach, we offer our partners insight into the potentiality of 285 chemicals that may be present—including those you wouldn’t usually look for in a regular test.
What does Chem Scan Check™ offer that’s different?
While our Worms Safety network proudly offers 15 laboratories globally for traditional testing methods, our broader goal is to enable our customers to anticipate risks, identify root causes, and instill a more innovative, proactive approach.
- One test, 285 substances: Chem Scan Check™ brings to the market one test run instead of the full substance list test. With only 5g of material, you can receive a screening result in accordance with the AFIRM restricted substance list for your textiles or plastics within 72 hours—and at a cost level that makes sense. The innovative technology is applicable to all products containing plastics and textiles; however, our current scope focuses on textiles, apparel, footwear, and home textiles, including sensitive products such as baby wear.
- Increased visibility for better business: As Chem Scan Check™ offers greater visibility over product lines, it is an excellent opportunity to achieve company strategies that are not restricted by common test parameters.
- End-to-end solution: A key advantage of Chem Scan Check™ is that it’s applicable across the entire life cycle—from raw materials to semi-finished products to finished products—monitoring recycled materials and certified materials.
- Customizable and adaptable: While it’s highly beneficial across the entire supply chain, CSC is a customizable concept that can address specific focus points, such as monitoring within a vendor empowerment program or complementing sustainability strategies with a scientific method.
Chem Scan Check™ in action
We have already experienced cases in which sensitive products such as baby wear passed a risk-based RSL test, but our Chem Scan Check™ (CSC) detected a non-compliance. In another case, CSC found flame retardants within shirt buttons, most likely because the supplier was using recycled materials that contained plastics used for electronic products. CSC has also detected exotic fertilizer (diammonium phosphate) within a teddy bear. The brand then uncovered that the new supplier they were working with was using local chemicals that contained the fertilizer. In another case, CSC enabled one of our customers to expand their testing parameters. They hadn’t been testing their labels, despite that being common practice, but conducted a CSC screening and found that one of their certified suppliers was producing non-compliant labels with organic carriers (COCs) over the limit of compliance.
Why 285 chemicals?
Chem Scan Check™ can actually check for more than 285 substances. Currently, over 500 substances are calibrated with external standards. However, while Chem Scan Check uses powerful solvents and equipment, there is a limitation to organic substances. Each substance in the screening process also needs to be validated with extensive research to ensure repeatability and accuracy, so we have initially focused on supporting the textile industry in relation to the AFIRM RSL. At the moment, Chem Scan Check™ in combination with additional tests for heavy metals and formaldehyde can cover 100% of substances listed under AFIRM.
Which chemicals are covered by Chem Scan Check™?
- Azo dyes
- Disperse dyes
- Short/middle-chained chlorinated paraffins
- Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEOs, NPEOs, OPEO)
- Dimethylfumarate (DMFu)
- And more
To cover completed RSL lists, other tests like heavy metals and formaldehyde will be tested separately.
How can Chem Scan Check™ (CSC) integrate with your chemical strategy?
- Superior sustainability: CSC will complement your existing recycled materials testing, facilitating broader claims with the assurance that your products contain 0% of unexpected non-compliant substances.
- Tighter risk control: CSC allows you to test more substances that you wouldn’t usually look for, generating greater visibility and reducing risk.
- Test new areas: CSC can cover the entire life cycle of your products and will invite you to consider new testing areas of focus, such as raw materials.
- Customizable for vendor empowerment: CSC enables you to award greater autonomy to your best-performing suppliers by allowing for random, limited checks instead of one-size-fits-all testing.
- Preparedness for new regulations: CSC will ensure you are ready for new regulations that require increased visibility and control over substances that may be present in your products.
What are the product applications?
- Unknown source chemicals
- Chemical cocktails
- Recycled materials
- Sensitive products
Interested in finding out how Chem Scan Check™ can improve your chemical management performance?
*According to an ECHA report: https://echa.europa.eu/-/1-in-4-imported-products-found-to-be-non-compliant-with-reach-and-clp