STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. It stands for customer confidence and high product safety. Find out here what STANDARD 100 means and why it is worth checking for this label when buying textiles.
Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 – what is behind it?
We are all familiar with the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 seal under the motto “Confidence in Textiles” and it gives consumers the security of buying an ecologically sensible product.
We would therefore like to take a closer look at this standard for you so that you do not only make your purchase decision based on a well-known label, but know what is behind it.
What exactly is meant by the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100?
The Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 is a uniform testing and certification system of the “International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile Ecology” that includes all processing stages for textile raw, intermediate and end products.
Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX is probably the best-known label of this type today. Each of us has seen this logo somewhere before.
Oeko-Tex® has established four product classes to which the successfully tested textile products can be assigned. The intensity of the skin contact with the product plays a major role here.
Here are the four product classes of the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100:
- Product Class I – Articles for babies and small children
- Product Class II – Items used close to the skin
- Product Class III – Articles that are used away from the skin
- Product Class IV – Furnishing materials
How is it ensured that the test parameters are complied with?
Oeko-Tex® has built up a large network of testing and research institutes in Europe and Japan and many contact offices in over 40 countries – this is how a worldwide networked control system with authorized institutes has emerged, which continuously checks compliance with the criteria. It is checked either by test purchases of products that are offered in stores or by unannounced spot checks in the certified companies.
How are the test criteria of the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX to be evaluated?
Due to the high level of awareness of the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX and the high level of trust that consumers place in this label, the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 label should be viewed critically. As you can see in the image of the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 label above, the word “trust” is clearly advertised and the design emphasizes the connection with nature.
However, the term “eco” implies fundamental positions for the ecologically oriented end consumer, such as organic farming without the use of pesticides, no genetic manipulation, so-called “organic cotton”, fair working conditions at producers and manufacturers, no child labor and much more. All of these fundamentals, which are important for organic customers, play a rather subordinate role in the Oeko-Tex® standard. Even textiles made from synthetic fibers such as polyester can obtain the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 seal, as can be clearly seen in this photo.
With the slogan “Confidence in Textiles”, however, the ecologically oriented consumer feels wrongly certain that he is buying a product that meets his high standards and values. Because he will only read the individual test criteria and limit values in the rarest of cases – and if he does, he often lacks the specialist knowledge that enables him to assess the numbers.
Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX using cotton textiles as an example
Another point of criticism of the Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX label is that the test for harmful substances is only carried out on the finished product and thus the production of the materials, the manufacture of the product, the working conditions during production and the ecological environment during production are not included. However, these are important aspects for the purchase decision for the eco-buyer. In order to explain the process to you, we have examined the production of cotton textiles in more detail.
Conventional cotton, which today consists mostly of genetically modified varieties, is treated with pesticides about 20 times before it is harvested.
As soon as the harvest is over, the cotton is cleaned – this is partly done in cleaning systems that are operated with chemical cleaning substances.
Chemicals in the form of dyes and so-called “textile auxiliaries” are also used in the subsequent stages of processing and finishing.
Only at the end of this production chain is the product tested by Oeko-Tex® – the previous cleaning processes and a well thought-out arrangement of the production process ensure that the end product only has 5-10% of the initial chemical residues and thus the test criteria of Oeko-Tex® adheres to
The often considerable waste water pollution, the poisoning of the soil and pollutants in the air are left out. Child labor and wage slavery, which are widespread in Asia – especially China – are also not taken into account. All these important points for a purchase decision based on an “eco-label” certification are not included in the evaluation of Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX.