Sourcing Journal’s Arthur Friedman writes that Oeko-Tex has updated guidelines, test criteria and limit values for its certifications and services to be more consistent with current consumer protection regulations and sustainability of textiles and leather products.
Leather articles labelled with Made In Green will now be tested for harmful substances in accordance with the Leather Standard and be certified to have been produced in environmentally friendly facilities in socially acceptable workplaces in accordance with the organization’s STeP program. This ensures that consumers can also track leather goods such as clothing, shoes or furniture using a unique product ID or the specific QR code on the label to learn which countries and production facilities the article was produced in.
To monitor compliance of the required criteria on site in the production facilities, Oeko-Tex also conducts checks of production facilities with trained auditors.
The organization has also integrated Detox to Zero in STeP by Oeko-Tex, which focuses on the safe handling of chemicals and wastewater testing in production facilities that have long been important parts of STeP certification. To manage the increasingly complex demands in textile and leather production Detox to Zero will be a mandatory element for STeP-certified facilities using large quantities of water and chemicals.
A positive aspect of the new regulation is the future conformity of STeP with the Manufacturing Restricted Substance List (MRSL), the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) and the Greenpeace Detox campaign.
Oeko-Tex has also added more strict criteria for certain chemicals in leather and textile production. After one year of observation, limits have been placed on the carcinogenic N-nitrosamines and N-nitrosables substances in the Standard 100 and Leather Standard. In addition, the herbicide glyphosate and its salts have also been included in the limit value catalogue for Standard 100 and specific limit values for the total content of the toxic heavy metals arsenic and mercury have been defined in both standards.
“The stringent requirements for residues in textile materials will lead to an overall lower impact on the environment, workers and consumers,” Oeko-Tex said.
Lastly, Oeko-Tex will observe various new substances based on the latest scientific findings and conformity with precise specifications. This primarily concerns some substances newly classified as the substance of very high concern (SVHC), which, according to the European REACH regulation for the protection of human health and the environment, have been identified as having particularly hazardous characteristics, as well as substances from the group of arylamines. Various dyes, pesticides and perfluorinated compounds will also be examined carefully in the future.
Following a transition period, all new regulations will come into effect on April 1.
Currently, 14,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in nearly 100 countries work with Oeko-Tex to ensure that their products are tested for possible harmful chemicals. At the same time, millions of users around the world use the Oeko-Tex labels as information for their purchasing decisions.