What is OEKO-TEX?
OEKO-TEX® is a textile certification born as a guarantee label for the health of consumers and in particular, the goal is to prevent adverse reactions induced by clothing potentially contaminated by toxic substances.
A material with a label OEKO-TEX it is first and foremost a material that is safe for our health.
Thus was born the most widespread label in the textile sector: OEKO-TEX® Standard 100. A certification standard whose purpose is to verify and manage the presence of toxic substances (for humans and the environment) in textile products.
We know that the 'environmental impact of the textile industry it is devastating for our planet, being among the most polluting industries in the world mainly due to the massive use of chemicals such as:
- Heavy metals
- Toxic dyes
- Substances used in crops (pesticides, herbicides, etc)
- Carcinogenic substances such as formaldehyde, phthalates, etc.
- Other substances such as benzene and glyphosate
A list that includes beyond 1000 chemical / toxic substances, excluded, or limited in their use, when manufacturing companies rely on OEKO-TEX certification.
OEKO-TEX it is an independent and voluntary certification, this means that companies must make an explicit request to obtain it. Subsequently, the bureaucratic process for the acceptance of the request will start, which includes company audits and laboratory analyzes on the products to be certified.
The checks are carried out by an external certification body, which collaborates with OEKO-TEX in the reference market. When the label is applied to a garment, it carries a serial number and the name of the institute that carried out the laboratory tests.
OEKO-TEX offers 6 certification classes:
- OEKO-TEX® Standard 100
- STeP by OEKO-TEX®
- MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®
- ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®
- DETOX TO ZERO
- LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 aims to ensure that textile products are free of toxic substances, and therefore are safe for human health and the environment. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is the first label developed by OEKO-TEX and consequently also the most widespread.
STeP / MySTeP it is a very different certification model compared to others, as it includes a complete analysis and assessment of the production conditions and, as if it were a tutor, over time leads the company to progressively reduce its environmental impact, improving at the same time occupational safety and social responsibility in general.
MADE IN GREEN (formerly called Oeko-Tex Standard 100plus) is a more advanced certification, as it results from the merger between OEKO-TEX Standard 100 (textile products free of harmful substances) and MySTeP, which can guarantee ethical working conditions. MADE IN GREEN monitors its standards throughout the textile supply chain, from the production of fabrics to marketed garments.
ECO PASSPORT it is a very interesting certification, since it does not certify the textile companies, but rather the products developed by chemical companies for the textile sector. In particular, it tests the chemicals of nuogeneration that must be placed on the market. If the chemical passes the ECO PASSPORT tests it is awarded the ECO PASSPORT certification - so we can consider it as a “greener” chemical.
DETOX TO ZERO arises from the latest revision of the OEKO-TEX criteria, which is committed to supporting the initiative Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals. This commitment increases the awareness of the companies involved in the OEKO-TEX system, especially on the chemical issues related to the hazardous substances identified by Greenpeace with the countryside Detox My Fashion. Leaving aside the ethical aspect of textile production, this is certainly the most restrictive environmental certification and consequently the best choice for the environment.
LEATHER STANDARDS is a specific certification for textile fibers made with animal skins, to guarantee that these have been produced, processed and tanned while minimizing the environmental impact. This certification also follows the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 criteria for the management of chemicals to be used during leather processing.
All these certification classes OEKO-TEX have been developed and managed by the international association of the same name, made up of a group of independent research institutes that carry out tests on textile / chemical products in Europe and Japan.
Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 it is a certification applicable to clothing that is very widespread in the underwear sector and other products in direct contact with the skin. However, we can also find this label on mattresses, pillowcases, sheets, duvets, upholstery, tablecloths and other household items made with textile fibers.
Which products can be certified OEKO-TEX Standard 100?
- Class I / textiles and textile toys for children up to the age of three, such as underwear, bedding, soft toys.
- Class II / Fabrics having a large part of their surface in direct contact with the skin, e.g. underwear, bedding, shirts.
- Class III / Textiles that do not come into contact with the skin, or that have only a small part of the surface in contact with the skin, e.g. jackets, coats, interlining materials.
- Class IV / Furnishing / decoration materials such as table linen and curtains, but also textile walls and fabric coverings.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 focuses its efforts on consumer safety, analyzing the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals in the object, and certifying only those products that comply with the limits allowed by its standards.
The greater the surface of the fabric in contact with the skin, the more rigorous the tests will be
The standards of this certificate are very similar to those imposed by the regulation REACH which, unlike OEKO-TEX Standard 100, it is not a voluntary certification, but a mandatory regulation for all companies producing in Europe using chemicals.
The catalog of tests carried out by OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is based on scientifically tested parameters and is reviewed annually, remaining in line with the latest legislation in force, as well as with the latest scientific discoveries given thetextile innovation in constant change.
The goal is therefore to reduce the use of some harmful chemicals, favoring the use of more ecological substances: from year to year companies can make their production more sustainable, simply by replacing some "old and polluting" substances, with others more "ecological".
Fashion and pollution are closely related to each other, and will continue to be for decades, but thanks to the support of certifications such as OEKO-TEX however, we could limit their impact on the planet.
What does OEKO-TEX Standard 100 analyze?
- Substances that are prohibited by law, such as carcinogenic dyes.
- Regulated substances, such as formaldehyde, softeners, chromium (IV), pentachlorophenol or phthalates.
- Substances which, according to current knowledge, are harmful to health, but not yet regulated or prohibited by law, such as heavy metals, pesticides, dyes that induce allergies, organic compounds, tin, chlorinated hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).
- Parameters such as color fastness and PH of the skin, which are precautionary measures to safeguard the health of consumers.
- Substances targeted by the Zero Discharge of Zero Chemicals (ZDHC) initiative, such as alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEO).
We mentioned earlier that we are talking about over 1000 chemicals, so it would be impossible to list them all on this page.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 it bases its certification mainly on product analyzes, which can only be performed at authorized institutes or laboratories. Certified companies are visited at least every three years, to verify their compliance with certification standards.
During the validity period of the certificate, the institution responsible for validation is authorized to carry out two random analyzes on the certified products.
If the random analysis detects a deviation of the chemicals from the limit values imposed by the certification, an additional test will be performed on a different sample. If further deviations are found, the institution may withdraw the authorization to label the products with immediate effect OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
Beyond these checks, which could easily be manipulated by the company under analysis, OEKO-TEX takes samples of products from the free market, and analyzes them in the laboratory to verify their requirements:
- If any deviations from the imposed standards are noted, all test costs will be charged to the certificate holder.
- If there is no deviation from the standards, the analyzes will be free for the certificate holder.
OEKO-TEX also uses independent auditors, who carry out unannounced inspections of certified companies OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 Certification Standard
- Presentation of Applications and Test Samples.
The application is presented to the test institute that collaborates with OEKO-TEX on the territory, together with representative test samples of the textile product. Test samples should be chosen to cover the entire product group. Test sample packaging must meet quality requirements to protect samples and ensure true test results (no external contamination).
This is the first phase, in which the applicant fills in an application which consists of:
- Description of the products to be tested.
- Details of the processing steps carried out to make the textile product (fabric / garment / object).
- A list of all dyes and auxiliaries used.
- Safety data sheets for finishing agents.
- Copies of certificates for materials and fabrics already certified (by OEKO-TEX or other bodies).
- Names of suppliers of all components of the product.
- Optional: inclusion in the international list, or in the internet shopping guide written by OEKO-TEX®.
- Analysis Test.
Following the recording of the product and production data, the relevant test institute draws up an individual test plan for the textile group to be tested. The fabrics are then tested against the OEKO-TEX criteria catalog parameter following a predefined methodology. The articles with the highest number of coatings, the darkest color, or the highest amount of finishing agents are then tested.
- Compilation of the Test Report.
The applicant is informed of the results in the form of a test report which initially refers only to the sample examined in the laboratory.
- Presentation of the Declaration of Conformity.
To be authorized to mark products with the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label, the applicant must ensure - in a declaration of conformity - that the products manufactured and sold correspond to the sample examined. Consequently, the relevant testing institute must be provided with tangible evidence, and with all quality assurance, undertaken within the applicant company.
- Issue of the Certification.
After submitting the declaration of conformity, the applicant receives an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certificate valid for successfully tested products. This authorizes the company to mark these products with the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label. If the company is nuogoes into the OEKO-TEX system, it must be visited within 6 months from the issue of the certification, this to verify the situation and to comply with the data presented in the application form.
Certification OEKO-TEX Standard 100 it is valid for 12 months. Consequently, it can be rinnovata from year to year; this approach is recommended to provide consumers with greater anti-fraud security.
How much does the OEKO-TEX certification cost?
The total cost annuo varies from 1.500 € (simple case) up to several thousand euros for more complex certifications and for which a large number of laboratory analyzes are required.
This cost also varies according to the type of class to be applied, in fact the certification OEKO-TEX Standard 100 costs less than a certification DETOX TO ZERO, simply because many more chemicals have to be tested to get the latter, so more detailed laboratory analysis is needed.
One of the advantages of OEKO-TEX is that it allows you to "cut" part of the costs by purchasing fabrics / materials that are already certified. For example, if the fabric to be used to make a textile product already has certification BlueSign: Global Organic Textile Standard (cotton), or others textile certifications, OEKO-TEX analyzes will be limited to those chemicals not analyzed by other certifications.
OEKO-TEX certified clothing
The certified underwear OEKO-TEX it is the most widespread and easily available online, but also in common clothing stores. T-shirts and sweaters are also often OEKO-TEX certified.
OEKO-TEX certified clothing it is certainly a sustainable choice for the environment and for one's health.
Certified garments OEKO-TEX they have a slightly higher cost than those of the classic low cost fashion of large distribution chains, where you will rarely find clothing with the OEKO-TEX label.
The cost of OEKO TEX certification often adds up to that of the ecological fabrics that are used to make this form of ecological clothing.
These costs are partly absorbed by the company and partly by the consumer, but we must accept that a sustainable product costs more, since it can guarantee us a fundamental value: preserving the environment.
Verification of OEKO-TEX certification
Any consumer can check if a product is really certified OEKO-TEX, or if the label applied to the product is a fraud.
Just take the identification number shown on the label (mandatory) and insert it in the appropriate verification form on the official website of OEKO-TEX.
Oeko Tex for Companies
Are you a producer? You want to get certified Eco Tex and apply the Oeko-Tex logo on your products? Then you have to contact the certifying body: OEKO-TEX
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