The International Oeko-Tex Association, now in its 25th year providing standardized solutions for the textile supply chain, has reviewed the requirements of its products and has published new regulations for several of its programs.

After three years on the market, STeP by Oeko-Tex has revised limit values for effluents that go into water and public sewage treatment plants based on ongoing changes in the global environment, input from customers and current regulatory developments.

A new chapter has been added to its standards for “Hazardous Processes That Should Be Avoided.” These processes to be avoided include the use of potentially hazardous surfactants, sodium hypochlorite used as a bleaching agent and defoamers that are potentially damaging to the environment.

Oeko-Tex recommends replacing the hazardous surfactants with biodegradable or bioeliminable agents in pre-treatment and dyeing processes. The use of antifoaming agents with high potential impact on wastewater should be avoided or minimized through prevention of fabric rotation, recycling or selection of biodegradable or bioeliminable products.

STeP by Oeko-Tex is a certification system for companies in the textile supply chain that want to communicate their achievements regarding sustainable manufacturing processes to the public in a transparent, credible and clear manner.

The new regulations for Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex will come into force on April 1 following a three-month transition period. The Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used.

At the parameter “per- and polyfluorinated compounds,” a large number of substances have been added or listed explicitly by name in the products for babies and small children and provided with limit values. As a result, in this product class, the use of per- and polyfluorinated compounds is severely restricted and nearly eliminated.

A large number of substances is also included in the list of regulated softeners called phthalates in all of the product classes. The three organic tin compounds are now regulated with limit values in all product classes. In addition, the use of the blue colorant “Navy Blue” is also now explicitly prohibited for product certification.

These new requirements allow Oeko-Tex, based in Zurich, Switzerland, to provide significant support for the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals initiative and Greenpeace’s Detox campaign. These new changes will help Oeko-Tex further increase awareness in the textile manufacturing chain regarding the responsible handling of potentially hazardous substances in textile products and sustainable production in 2017.

In addition, a new pricing strategy has been established for the Made In Green by Oeko-Tex product label to better meet market requirements. The new pricing offers label issuers the option to use smaller packets of labels, or even a single label, for their product to be labeled with Made In Green by Oeko-Tex. The Made In Green by Oeko-Tex label shows the consumer that the textiles concerned are tested for harmful substances and sustainably produced in accordance with Oeko-Tex guidelines.