The expanding Oeko-TEX portfolio now covers a full range of sustainability considerations after a quarter of a century at the cutting edge of environmental textile certification.
It all started in 1992. Consumers were outraged to discover that their clothing and other textile products contained high levels of hazardous chemicals that could adversely affect their health. In response to the public outcry, the German Hohenstein Institute and the Austrian OETI (formerly the Austrian Textile Research Institute) joined forces to create the independent OEKO-TEX® Association and begin the work to address the hazardous chemical problem for the textile industry and for consumers around the world.
Their efforts resulted in the pioneering STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® textile product testing and certification system. To create the STANDARD 100, OEKO-TEX ® scientists identified chemical substances relevant to textile production that were regulated or considered dangerous by medical experts. The list included chemicals such as formaldehyde, heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates, and carcinogenic dyestuffs to name just a few. The scientists established the restricted substance list, the limits that were acceptable, and the methods used to test textile products for these hazardous chemicals. Textile products manufacturers, retailers, and consumers responded enthusiastically and the industry-wide effort to eliminate harmful chemicals from the textile supply chain took root.
The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® quickly became the global benchmark for textile products tested to be free from harmful levels of concerning substances. Today, that original list of 100 hazardous chemicals has grown to more than 300 and the limit values have tightened significantly as textile manufacturing technology has advanced. In fact, the OEKO-TEX® limit values and test methods are, in most cases, stricter than those required by any industry group or regulatory agency. The roster of textile manufacturers, sourcers, brands, and retailers that work with OEKO-TEX® today numbers more than 10,000 in almost 100 countries around the world. The OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017.