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Oeko-Tex certificate continues to consolidate its position
17
Nov '08
With nearly 9,000 certificates issued in the last year alone, the Oeko-Tex certification system continues to consolidate its position as the global leader of reference for independent testing of textiles for harmful substances. The International Oeko-Tex Association has recognised this by holding the annual conference of the directors of the Oeko-Tex member institutes from 41 countries world-wide from October 27 to 28, 2008 in South Africa, where one of the authorised testing institutes is based.

Oeko-Tex executives' efforts to increase awareness of textile product safety even in less significant markets, such as Africa, were emphasised by an event held for customers hosted by South Africa's largest textile trader. Representatives from Oeko-Tex® certified firms, trade and industry, and members of the media attended.

With respect to the further development of the Oeko-Tex criteria catalogue, the institute directors emphasised they would continue to offer manufacturers, traders and textile consumers a high degree of product safety. The basis for the new formulation of the test criteria is shaped by continual observation of the market, harmonisation with national and international standards and laws, and consideration for the latest scientific findings.

To be included in the new test parameters are decaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether) and HBCDD (hexabromocyclododecane), which will be inventoried as banned flame retardants. The list will also be extended to regulating the phthalates DEHP (di-(2-ethylhexyl)-phthalate) , BBP (butyl benzyl phthalate) and DBP (dibutyl phthalate) in Product Classes III and IV, because these substances are counted among the SVHC on the official REACh-candidate list.

Also new are the additional full disintegration of lead and cadmium within the framework of the Oeko-Tex® heavy metals tests and the inclusion of perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS) and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) in the criteria catalogue. In their entirety, the Oeko-Tex product standards clearly go far beyond legal standards.

"All the measures implemented to ensure the level of testing and product quality maintenance," said General Secretary Raimar Freitag, "have been tried-and-true for years, and will of course be continued." Among these are, for example, regular monitoring of products on the market.

In the last year alone, some 20% of all the issued certificates were checked. Further quality assurance measures include the internal round-robin tests between the Oeko-Tex testing institutes and unannounced visits by independent Oeko-Tex® auditors to the production facilities of certified companies.

With more than 70,000 certificates issued for millions of vaunted, traded products, the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 is the most successful label world-wide for textiles that have been tested for harmful substances.

The European countries, with 48.5% of the certificates issued, and Asia, with 48.6% share, are certification focal points. In Africa, some 130 certificates have been issued up to now. Among those, nine were for companies in South Africa. Viewed internationally, textile fabrics (29%) are certified most frequently, followed by garments (19%), yarns and threads (17%), accessories (15%) and home textile products (7%).

Currently, more than 8,000 companies from 85 countries world-wide are active in the Oeko-Tex certification system. Among them are textile and garment manufacturers representing all stages of production, accessory suppliers, retailers and producers of dyes and auxiliaries.

Oeko-Tex Association

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