Why Testing for Harmful Substances in Textiles Matters

Sure, you are aware of the hazards associated with ingesting chemicals, but have you given serious thought to the chemicals in textiles like clothes, footwear and home goods? While our bodies are in constant contact with some form of a textile product, 40 percent of people asked say they do not know about the way textiles or clothes are produced, according to OEKO-TEX®’s Key to Confidence global consumer survey.

Between 4,000 and 8,000 individual chemicals enter factories in countless formulations, and they exit either on the products or as waste that negatively impacts the environment. Certain chemicals in textiles are harmful to human health, causing ailments in those who work in textile manufacturing plants as well as people who wear or use the end products.

While all people can be impacted, babies, young children, the elderly and allergy sufferers are especially sensitive to these harmful substances.  Exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of allergic dermatitis, but more severe health effects for humans and the environment could be linked to them as well.

Harmful substances found in or used to manufacture clothing, footwear and home textiles have been linked to neurotoxicity, liver, kidney and lung disorders, cancer and more. Chemicals used in textile production pollute rivers, oceans, wildlife and horticulture within miles of processing facilities. The environmental impact is large, as textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally, and the fashion industry produces 20 percent of global wastewater.

To help you make safe and sustainable textile choices, OEKO-TEX® tests for, and certifies, that chemicals in textiles are below levels that would typically cause harm, and the certification ensures compliance with regulations around the world.

OEKO-TEX®’s independent certifications and product labels ensure that textiles are harmless to health, environmentally friendly and manufactured in a fair way. Product labels are verifiable, recognizable and traceable, so you do not have to check the validity of safety and eco-friendly claims all on your own.

OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100 is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances and enables you to make safe textiles choices for you and your family. When you see a STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that every component of the product from the thread to the buttons and other accessories has been rigorously tested for harmful substances.

To account for the environment, an OEKO-TEX® MADE IN GREEN label means a product has been tested for harmful substances and manufactured using sustainable processes under environmentally friendly and socially responsible working conditions.

Textiles are a huge part of everyday life and can have an impact on the health of both people and the planet. OEKO-TEX® tests for harmful substances and certifies sustainable manufacturing practices to ensure products are safe for human health and the environment. Do yourself and your family a favor. Check for the OEKO-TEX® label when purchasing new clothes or home goods.