There are currently several different chemical lists that have been created to support the use of safer (positive) chemical alternatives, restrict the use of certain chemicals in the manufacturing process, and/or control the amount of chemicals that can be present in finished products or materials. As part of your chemical purchasing and selection program it is important to understand the purpose, function, and applicability of these chemical lists. Where applicable, policies and procedures to comply with these lists should be included in your chemical management program.
Any questions regarding obtaining or the applicability of these lists to your company should be discussed with your customers (i.e. brands)
Positive Chemistry List
This list contains substances which have been assessed for their human & environmental health attributes, safety, environmental impacts and performance properties. These chemicals are recognized as available safer chemistries and are recommended for use. An example of a positive chemistry list would be the bluesign® bluefinder list of chemicals.
Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL)
This list focuses on substances used in the production process or in the manufacturing facility. It lists chemicals that are restricted from being used in the manufacturing of products. To test against an MRSL, chemicals need to be tested before they are used on-site.
Customers may have their own MRSL or follow an established industry MRSL such as chemicals with usage bans as listed in the bluesign® system substance list (BSSL) or the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) MRSL.
Restricted Substances List (RSL)
This list focuses on substances that can be present in finished materials and products. RSLs determine acceptable amounts of substances that can be present in finished materials or products. To test against an RSL, finished materials and products are tested.
Customers may utilize their own RSL, or adopt an industry-established RSL such as the bluesign® system substance list (BSSL).
The AFRIM Group, an industry collaboration, also publishes a publicly available RSL and RSL toolkit that may provide helpful guidance toward understanding and managing RSL requirements.
Chemistry Lists Flow Diagram
The figure below provides a visual summary of the use of chemical lists and where applicable screening and testing programs may be required.
Relevant Higg Index Facility Environment Module (FEM) 3.0 indicators:
Chemicals Management – Level 1: Questions 7, 10, 11, 12
Chemicals Management – Level 2: Question 21