Organotin Compounds: Compounds that contain at least one tin-carbon bond are referred to as organotins. Organotin compounds find use as catalytic agents, industrial biocides, plastic stabilizers, glass coatings, antifouling paints and pesticides among its major commercial applications. These compounds pollute the environment and are harmful to aquatic life. Even at very low concentrations, organotins are extremely toxic to marine and freshwater organisms. The primary source of exposure to humans of organotin compounds is from seafood and the most common harm is damage to the immune system. Tributyltin (TBT) and triphenyltin (TPhT) are the most common organotins used in the textile and apparel industries, because DBT is mainly used as a stabilizer in PVC applications and for plastisol prints instead. Organotins are restricted by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Phthalates: Most commonly used as a softener for products made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) these are a ubiquitous class of compounds. Phthalate is a term referring to the di-ester derivatives of phthalic acid and so is a group of different compounds, although they are structurally related.

Modern commerce makes diverse use of phthalates. One common use is to soften PVC products that require flexibility, for example blood bags and children's toys. Phthalates are also found in many consumer products, such as textiles, footwear and cosmetics because they are used as lubricating oils, solvents, fixatives and detergents. Its very diversity inevitably creates human exposure opportunities. Plastisol prints on garments often contain phthalates and they are also present in PVC-based materials that are used for coating, shoe soles and in many accessories produced by the garment and footwear industries. Recent studies have shown that phthalate exposure can amend estrogen levels in the hormone systems of humans and animals, giving rise to serious health problems like cancers and impairments to the reproduction and development. Phthalates are restricted by Egypt and South Korea.

Chemical hazards like those described above are regularly communicated and the public is becoming more and more aware of the dangers they pose. When it comes to compliance with chemical restrictions it is not enough to simply get your merchandise into the market. Enforcing prudent chemical safety measures in your supply chain also demonstrates your social responsibility to the public and positively reflects on your brand image.

About the author:

SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and Certification Company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.

This article was originally published in the "New Cloth Market", June, 2012.