Your regular update for technical and industry information
MAY 2021 - SOFTLINES
ISO 16181-1:2021 requires the replacement of the extraction solvent from n-hexane/acetone mixture to toluene (optional: THF for PVC). This change could lead to a different result, despite using the same sample or material provided. Hence, in order to ensure a consistency in the testing methods, a prior agreement would need to be made between the manufacturer and testing body (TÜV SÜD) on when to make the switch to the new standard, as the change is immediately effective.
For a clearer comparison of the main technical attributes between the two methods, please refer to Appendix A
The main impact will be on the consistency of conclusion as stated in the test reports for footwear article/SKU made of the same materials but using either testing method for different productions. A sunset date of using the superseded method shall be agreed between manufacturer and testing body (TÜV SÜD).
There is a minor impact on the instrumentation and the related testing process in the CHN lab. The CHN labs will add this new standard into their accreditation scope. A GTP will be published at the division level to align the testing practice.
The results for phthalates in PVC will be comparable either if toluene or THF were used.
However, the limit of quantification for phthalates is different whether THF or toluene are used. With THF, phthalates can only be quantified if the concentration is above 0.01 % (100 mg/kg) whereas if toluene was used, phthalates can be quantified if the concentration is above 0.005 % (50 mg/kg). Therefore, it is advisable to test with toluene.