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January 8, 2020

Oeko-Tex focuses on sustainability with regulations update

The Oeko-Tex Association has updated its existing guidelines, including all certification systems and other services, in-line with consumer protection and sustainability.

By Michelle Russell

The Oeko-Tex Association has updated its existing guidelines, including all certification systems and other services, in-line with consumer protection and sustainability.

Following a transition period, the new regulations will come into effect on 1 April 2020, and include the ability to award the Made in Green sustainability label to leather products.

In 2019, STeP certification was expanded to include leather production facilities. Oeko-Tex has gone one step further with the integration of leather products with the Made in Green label. Articles labelled as such have been tested for harmful substances in accordance with the Leather Standard and have been produced in environmentally-friendly facilities in socially acceptable workplaces in accordance with STeP.

“This ensures 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,” Oeko-Tex explains.

The following updates have also been made:

New additions to the limit value catalogues – After one year of observation, the carcinogenic N-nitrosamines and N-nitrosables substances have been included in the Standard 100 and the Leather Standard. The herbicide glyphosate and its salts have also been included in the limit value catalogue for the Standard 100. Specific limit values for the total content of the toxic heavy metals arsenic and mercury have also been defined in the Standard 100 and Leather Standard. The stringent requirements for residues in textile materials will lead to an overall lower impact on the environment, workers and consumers.

New substances under observation – In 2020, 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 SVHC, which, according to the 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. However, various dyes, pesticides and perfluorinated compounds will also be examined carefully in the future.

Integration of Detox to Zero in STeP by Oeko-Tex – Safe handling of chemicals and wastewater testing in production facilities have long been important parts of STeP certification. To manage the increasingly complex demands in textile and leather production, beginning 1 April 2020, Detox to Zero will be an obligatory element for STeP-certified facilities using large quantities of water and chemicals (wet plants). 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), Initiative and the criteria for the Greenpeace Detox campaign.

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