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RSL - Restricted Substances List: 

The RSL applies to the finished product. The product is tested for a variety of chemical substances to ensure regulatory compliance to safety standards and regulations such as REACH (Europe), California Proposition 65 & CPSIA (US), IECSC (Inventory of Existing Chemical Substances in China), DSL (Canada), etc.  

The AFIRM testing matrix applies a risk-based approach to testing. AFIRM (Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management) is a brand-driven membership organization of apparel and footwear companies collaborating to promote chemicals management in the global supply chain. It is a goal of the AFIRM Group to reduce the testing burden on suppliers and streamline the RSL testing approach, while further reducing risk of restricted substances in materials and products.  


MRSL – Manufacturing Restricted Substances List: 

According to the ZDHC Foundation (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals), an MRSL is a list of chemical substances that are banned from intentional use in facilities processing textile materials, leather, rubber, foam, adhesives and trim parts in textiles, apparel, and footwear. Using chemical formulations that conform to an MRSL allows suppliers to assure themselves, and their customers, that banned chemical substances are not intentionally used during production and manufacturing processes.  

By ensuring restricted substances are not present in the input materials, theoretically the risk of them being present in the finished product is low. Furthermore, not all chemical substances applied to a product will be part of the final article, therefore the control of restricted substances in the input chemistry reduces the risk of effluent and waste discharge containing harmful and hazardous substances.


Key differences between MRSL and RSL:

Applies to chemical formulations used in production processes  X  
Applies to finished product (material)     X
Used to prevent harmful/hazardous substances to enter production processes  X  
Used to prevent the presence of harmful/hazardous substances in the product    X
Used for chemical management and health & safety compliance  X  
Used for product safety compliance    X

Some substances are listed in both MRSLs and RSLs, while others may not be restricted under an MRSL – they may be present in chemicals used in manufacturing, but the levels of the substance in the product must be controlled. Similarly, concentration limits for substances in MRSL or RSL may differ.