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Oeko-Tex Expands Regulations For Harmful Substances

The Oeko-Tex Association, Switzerland, has updated testing criteria and limits for harmful substances evaluated according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 to reflect current market trends and legal stipulations. The changes also make the test parameters compatible with the Arlington, Va.-based American Apparel and Footwear Association’s Restricted Substances List, and Oeko-Tex anticipates US textile and apparel manufacturers henceforth will be more interested in testing according to its standard.

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Additions to the list of harmful substances include the organochlorine pesticides isodrin, kelevan, kepone, perthane, strobane and telodrin; triphenyltin, an organotin substance used as a fungicide; and asbestos fibers. Testing for chlorinated phenols has been expanded to include all three possible isomers of the substance, and the limit on the one isomer that was previously tested now applies to the total of all three isomers. Limits on dibutyl tin have been expanded beyond baby articles to include products used in close contact with the skin, apparel not worn next to the skin and furnishing materials.

Oeko-Tex also has modified rules for assessment of active chemical products and now has banned essentially all textiles that have biologically active treatments from all product classes. Standard 100 certification will henceforth be limited to products that have been confirmed independently by Oeko-Tex experts not to be harmful to human health. The restriction also applies to apparel textiles treated with a flame retardant (FR), but FR-treated furnishing textiles are exempt with certain restrictions.

The summary of test criteria and limits is available for download at www.oeko-tex.com.

January/February 2008