Oeko-Tex as important building block for REACh communication in textiles chain
Information event in Frankfurt am Main for Oeko-Tex certified companies Frankfurt (hm) What challenges does European chemicals legislation which came into effect in June 2007 place on companies from the textile and clothing industry? And to what extent can Oeko-Tex Standard 100 product certification provide greater clarity concerning the area covered by REACh and Oeko-Tex – greater awareness of the need for careful handling of problem substances? These were the key topics of an information event held by the Oeko-Tex Association on 29 April in Frankfurt am Main, attended by about 90 interested parties from companies involved with Oeko-Tex test institutes, industry associations and the trade press, alongside staff from the Oeko-Tex Certification Centre and some of the Oeko-Tex Test institutes.
In other presentations, Oeko-Tex Association speakers used the number of certificates issued world-wide to look at the global significance of Oeko-Tex tests for harmful substances, explained the tasks of the Oeko-Tex Certification Centre and the results of a European survey of trade and consumers regarding textiles logos, and shared information about the Association's joint development of test criteria in the context of international statutory requirements.
The firm Gebrüder Otto Baumwollfeinzwirnerei GmbH & Co. KG was highlighted as an example of the potential for a highly-innovative yet sustainable and environmentally friendly textile production in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 1000. A comparison of the worldwide manufacture and processing of synthetic fibres with the production conditions for natural raw materials such as cotton and wool, considering sustainability in particular, rounded off the programme of talks.
In the context of the further development of its test criteria the Oeko-Tex Association is also focusing on substances rated by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) as Substances of Very High Concern, and is testing all new substances released for their relevance to the textiles sector and any potential need to act with regard to the Oeko-Tex criteria catalogue.
Whilst REACh aims at the reorganisation and harmonised analysis of chemicals at a European level – including expansion of existing safety data sheets for chemicals, in order to provide better data on their fate and behaviour in the environment and in humans – the Oeko-Tex criteria catalogue, which has evolved over time and is far stricter for the entire textiles chain, forms an effective protective screen against potential problem substances.
Moreover, it not only applies to clothing and domestic textiles, but also to all other kinds of textile products that are found to meet the Oeko-Tex requirements. As the REACh regulation covers the entire industry and therefore also concerns the packaging, Oeko-Tex member institutes provide manufacturers with individual assistance concerning any ambiguities.