T-Chip: Transparency at the Textile Chemical Level
Brands and retailers looking at the transparency of their supply chain often hit a stumbling block when it came to their chemical suppliers.
“A commercial chemical product supplied by the textile chemical industry might be made up of three to eight ingredients,” said Dina Dunn, president of the Textile Chemical Profile program (T-ChIP), a third-party, independent organization that evaluates hazards and risks of chemicals supplied to the textile and apparel industry. Chemical suppliers consider the formula of those ingredients used their intellectual property and a trade secret they do not want to share with their customers.
“We could see a need for a confidential approach that allowed for rigorous disclosure of chemical ingredient information. This information is critical to derive appropriate hazard and risk assessments for commercial textile chemical products,” Dunn said. T-ChIP helps “the chemical companies disclose both the hazards and risks of their products to brands and retailers.”
Textile chemical companies provide detailed ingredient-level information about commercial textile chemical products—such as finishing agents, lubricants, detergents, dyes and pigments—to T-ChIP’s secure website (www.t-chipticket.com).
The T-ChIP site features two levels of encryption. The first level ensures customers can securely input as much general information as possible about the commercial chemical product; the second level provides a depot for disclosure of the formulation’s composition, down to the Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Number (CASRN).
The ingredient information is sent as an anonymous list of CASRN and chemical names to chemical toxicology information platform SciVera, which will screen the ingredients against leading Restricted Substance Lists and conduct a detailed hazard assessment of each ingredient.
T-ChIP textile chemists will review the SciVera assessment and, using appropriate mixture models of the SciVera ingredient data and published industry secondary data sources, issue hazard and risk assessments based on yield data, assumptions concerning factory performance and the function of the chemical within the textile process, Dunn said.
Chemical suppliers receive the SciVera hazard assessment on each ingredient from T-ChIP along with a summary report on the chemical product’s integrated hazard and risk assessment, or T-ChIP Ticket. The T-ChIP Ticket combines the hazard and risk assessment in an easy-to read format.
“All of this is done for just a few hundred dollars per ingredient,” Dunn said.
Very large chemical suppliers may be may be able to do their own hazard and risk assessment, but T-ChIP was created with small- and mid-sized chemical suppliers in mind, Dunn said.
“The brands and retailers are already asking for this transparency, but the chemical suppliers are uncomfortable disclosing their intellectual property,” she said. “This is a Web-based tool that can make everybody happy. It’s affordable. It’s filling that gap.”