Certification body Oeko-Tex is piloting its new Eco Passport testing programme, which verifies whether textile chemicals, auxiliaries and dyes can be used in sustainable textile production.

The programme was first reported on just-style in December, and is due to be officially launched in early summer 2016.

Consisting of three sequential steps, the new Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex is aimed at manufacturers of textile processing chemicals and chemical compounds, such as dyes, performance additives, finishing agents, lubricants, detergents.

The results from each stage of evaluation can be used to confirm internal quality control and occupational safety guidelines as well as to reformulate if necessary to create safer, more sustainable formulations.

The first stage requires manufacturers to disclose the chemical substances in their formulas, which are compared via CAS number (the number assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)) against the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Restricted Substance List and the STeP by Oeko-Tex Manufacturing Restricted Substance List. These OEKO-TEX lists are compliant with REACH and ZDHC guidelines.

Second, a risk/hazard assessment is conducted in which each ingredient is evaluated against 22 health and environmental criteria.

And finally, an analytical verification is performed to confirm that the chemical product does not contain unintended by-products or contaminants and meets the criteria for Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex certification.

Products that pass all three phases are granted the certification, which indicates that the textile chemical is safe to use in Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified textile products and in STeP by Oeko-Tex certified manufacturing facilities. 

The difference with this certification against Oeko-Tex's others, the company says, is down to the Eco Passport system being for textile chemicals only. Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is for textiles and textile accessories and the STeP by Oeko-Tex is for textile manufacturers. 

The certification process typically takes 2-3 weeks, while the cost depends on the amount of chemical products and their specific grouping.