Oeko-Tex, an association of 18 independent research and testing institutes worldwide that sets standards for more safety in products of the textile and leather industry and their manufacture, is proceeding with its annual revision of test criteria, limit values and requirements for its sustainability certifications and labels – the objective being to keep them up to date with scientific progress and governmental regulations. The changes will take effect after a transition on April 1, 2021.

A webinar covering the latest changes will be available free of charge as of Jan. 14 at www.oeko-tex.com.The standards themselves are detailed on the Oeko-Tex website.

In response to Covid-19 restrictions, Oeko-Tex is now assessing factories virtually for Standard 100 and Leather Standard certification. It is also conducting virtual on-site visits for STeP and Eco Passport certifications.

Standard 100, which certifies the integration of recycled materials into new products, sets minimums for recycled content. These vary based on a recycled material’s origin and other backgrounds. The standard also stipulates that a hangtag should inform consumers about recycling in the circular economy. According to Oeko-Tex, recycled materials need a standard of their own if only because they are more difficult to certify than virgin materials.

The Leather Standard, to be implemented by Oeko-Tex and its partner institutes, will in future certify leather as being free of chrome and other metals, each with its limit value. Qualifying leathers will receive a special mention on their certificate.

Made in Green turned out once again to be the strongest-growing Oeko-Tex product in 2020, with the number of valid labels rising by 267 percent year-on-year from 1,093 to 4,010. According to its secretary general, Georg Dieners, Oeko-Tex hopes to integrate the carbon and water footprint systematically into the Made in Green label this year. 

There are new limit values for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAs) – used in textile coatings – and for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and related substances. The Eco Passport and STeP standards have added titanium dioxide (TiO2) to the CAS number screening for respirable-size particles.The STeP standard has also lowered sulfur dioxide (SO2) limits for air emissions from solid and liquid fuels. Some of this stems from Oeko-Tex’s work on a recent ZDHC whitepaper on air emissions.

Among the new substances under scrutiny are such SVHCs as diisocyanates, dibutyltin bis(acetylacetonate), 2-methylimidazole and 1-vinyl imidazole.

Oeko-Tex currently serves about 16,000 manufacturers, brands and retailers in 100 countries.