Face masks have become instrumental in fighting the spread of COVID-19. As result, our faces will be in constant contact with textiles as a part of daily life. This is particularly true for essential workers.
Certain chemicals used in textiles and during textile production can cause ailments to people who wear the clothing made with them. The elderly and allergy sufferers are especially sensitive. Since face masks directly cover our noses and mouths and we breathe through them, it is critical to test them for harmful substances.
The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certification process is now being used for face masks. The certification ensures that textiles are tested for harmful substances by neutral and independent OEKO-TEX® test institutes. Every single component of the face mask is tested to certify that chemical levels are below strict limit values for safe human ecology. To support continued safety of the population from harmful substances, OEKO-TEX® is currently waiving the license fee for the certification of masks.
The certification ensures compliance with regulations around the world. The testing methods consider all the ways a substance can be absorbed and account for real-use situations – not just new conditions in a lab environment. The tests are based on the latest scientific data on health and manufacturing methods. OEKO-TEX® consults with several independent toxicologists to determine ecological safety.
As the demand for face masks continues to grow, it is important to consider how this protective equipment is made. Wearers of a STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certified mask can feel confident in the quality and safety of the textiles that are enabling them to interact in their communities.