Oeko-Tex® is the world's leading certification for textiles, leather and accessories that have been tested for harmful substances. Around 10,000 producers in nearly 90 countries along the entire textile chain participate in the Oeko-Tex® certification system, which is the best known and most widespread brand in the world for textiles tested for harmful substances.
The tests are only performed in the renowned textile research and test institutes connected to the Oeko-Tex® Association. Swerea IVF is the only institute in Sweden authorised to certify according to Oeko-Tex® Standard 100. Certification can be done for products in all different stages of the textile chain, fibres, yarns, raw fabrics, dyed and treated textiles, accessories (buttons, zippers, labels, etc.) as well as finished end products.
The Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 does not only include substances that are banned or that have legally established limits, but also includes other substances that have been scientifically proven or are suspected to have adverse health effects. Examples of parameters that are included in the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 are prohibited azo dyes, carcinogenic and allergenic dyes, phthalates, formaldehyde, pesticides, heavy metals, certain organochlorine and organotin compounds, biologically active products, and flame retardant materials.
Four classes of products
In order for the limits to be relevant for different types of products, there are four different types of product classes based on the certified product's intended area of use:
Product Class I – Products for children up to 3 years (clothing, bedding, textile fabrics, etc.)
Product Class II – Products that mostly come in direct contact with skin (underwear, shirts, trousers, bed linen, terry, etc.)
Product Class III – Products which do not come in contact with the skin, or do so only to a small extent (jackets, rainwear, protective clothing, etc.)
Product Class IV – Furnishing and decorative materials (carpets, curtains, furniture fabrics, etc.)
The Oeko-Tex® brand
A product may only be Oeko-Tex® labelled or certified if all the components meet the requirements for the appropriate product category. The product must also belong under one certificate. It is therefore not permissible to refer to only part of the product, such as the fabric, as Oeko-Tex® certified. When a product is Oeko-Tex® marketed or labelled, a certificate number must always be shown, as well as the institute that issued the certificate. A certificate's validity can always be checked on www.oeko-tex.com/validity. This also shows the article description and product class of the certificate. Every year the Oeko-Tex® Association, carries out control tests on products from at least 15% of all issued certificates to verify that the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 requirements are met.
When it comes to the continuous further development of limits, test criteria and test methods, the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 has proven to be a pioneer many times over with regard to the evaluation of potentially harmful substances in textiles. New scientific discoveries and legal decisions are discussed at regular meetings of all member institutes and are translated into the appropriate test criteria, limits and test methods to constantly ensure the best possible product safety.
Oeko-Tex® official website