In my previous blog post we established that GOTS means organic. It means that we are protecting our children from harmful chemicals, but also our globe and other people in it, by responsible farming and by doing the right thing by the people who do the work.
But now we have found another pretty label in our kids clothes. What is OEKO-TEX Standard100? Does that mean organic too? Does OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label in my child's clothing mean that I won't be exposing their sensitive skin to pesticides, fertilizers, harmful dyes or other chemicals? Let's have a closer look.
In the early 1990s there was a growing concern about poisonous chemicals used in textile manufacturing and the general public started demanding textiles that are not harmful to health. To me this sounds outrageous, that there would have been formaldehyde, cancer causing azo dyes and allergenic dyes in babies clothes, but there was. OEKO-TEX Standard 100 was born and now these chemicals have become very strictly regulated and some are altogether banned.
But OEKO-TEX 100 takes things a bit further than just what's in the law. It is an independent testing and certification system for textiles, that is recognised globally. And the criteria includes:
- Illegal substances such as carcinogenic colourants
- Legally regulated substances such as formaldehyde, plasticizers, heavy metals or pentachlorophenol
- Substances which according to current knowledge are harmful to health, but which are not yet regulated or prohibited by law such as pesticides, allergenic dyes or tin-organic compounds
- Parameters such as colour fastness and a skin-friendly pH-value, which are precautionary measures to safeguard consumer health
There are different sub classes to the testing according to the use of the end product.The more intensive the skin contact of a product, the stricter the human ecological requirements to be met are.
The four product classes are:
Product class I:
Textile items for babies and toddlers up to 3 years (clothing, toys, bed linen, terry cloth items etc.)
Product class II:
Textiles used close to the skin (underwear, bed linen, T-shirts etc.)
Product class III:
Textiles used away from the skin (jackets, coats etc.)
Product class IV:
Furnishing materials (curtains, table cloths, upholstery materials etc.)
The testing takes place in accredited labs in Europe and Japan. It applies to the end product, including all the components of it, such as the fabric, buttons, sewing thread, zippers etc.
It does not necessarily mean, that the natural fibres used in the tested clothing were organically grown or look into the different stages of the production. And synthetic textiles can be certified too.
So the simple answer to our question - Does OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label in my child's clothing mean that I won't be exposing their sensitive skin to pesticides, fertilizers, harmful dyes or other chemicals? is: YES, it does. It is the main purpose of the label.
And while OEKO-TEX Standard 100 label does not necessarily mean that the clothing is organic, it does mean that less chemicals have been used and that is certainly better for us and our globe.