We are increasingly becoming more conscious about the environment we live in and what goes into our bodies. We have become more aware of how things are grown, whether it be the food we eat or “ingredients” for textile production – fabrics that we put against our skin. People are wanting reassurance that the products they buy are safe. We do not want to invite any toxic chemicals into our home (or bodies) now more is known about their harmful effects.
We are increasingly finding out what really goes into the production of our food or into the textiles that we wear against our skin. We are challenging the way that the products we buy are produced, to ensure the production process protects our natural world and enables future generations to live. We all have a social responsibility and people are becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues and the impact their consumer choices have.
When we set up Linen Quarter, we wanted to develop products that are produced in the most environmentally friendly and social responsible ways possible, with safety to consumers being paramount. This is why we only sell bed linen that is Oeko-Tex ® certified and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified.
In our latest blog we explain what Oeko-Tex ® is, and why this should be important to you and your family. The more information we have as consumers, the more informed choices we can make with everything we buy. We will cover GOTS in our next blog.
What are these certifications?
The simplest way to explain these certifications is that Oeko-Tex ® certification is about how the fabric is processed (including dyes and finishes) and focuses on the end product; organic certification is all about how the raw materials for your fabric are grown, and looks at the whole journey literally from seed right through to the end product – the fabric.
Why are these important to Linen Quarter?
We only work with manufacturers who have this certification, and we ensure that we receive their up to date certification as part of our quality management process. These certifications ensure we can trace back to the origin of our cotton, so you and your family can feel confident knowing our products are authentic, pure and chemical free. This traceability of supply chain is at the heart of our business. We are proud to say that all of our products are Oeko-Tex ® and GOTS certified.
What is Oeko-Tex®?
Oeko-Tex® is a worldwide certification system for environmentally friendly and socially responsible production facilities in the textile and clothing industry. It therefore does not matter where the certified products are manufactured and where consumers buy them. It is the International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology – or Oeko-Tex® for short!
There are various different levels of Oeko-Tex® certification, but the most common accreditation is the Oeko-Tex® 100 Standard. This is used for testing and certification of textile products.
Products marked with the Oeko-Tex® label “Confidence in Textiles” provide effective protection against allergenic substances, as well as harmful chemicals and synthetics.
What does Oeko-Tex® test for?
To attain Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certification, the fabric has to be tested and certified to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health. It is a global standard, so it’s the same across the world. The types of chemicals that the fabric is tested for include banned Azo colourants (dyes), formaldehyde, pentachlorophenol, cadmium, nickel etc. You’d be surprised how some of these harmful chemicals are used. For example, did you know that some manufacturers use formaldehyde to ensure it’s wrinkle-free? Not many people are aware of this.
As well as ensuring that the fabric does not contain any harmful chemicals and is safe against sensitivities when in close contact with it, laboratory tests also take into account all conceivable ways how harmful substances could enter the body (orally, via the skin, by inhalation).
What happens in the certification process?
The certification process is both demanding and expensive. The process is conducted by independent third-party laboratories, it is voluntary, and it must be updated on an annual basis. The certificate holder must have operational quality assurance measures in place, and as part of the process is legally bound by the signing of undertakings and conformity declarations. Oeko-Tex® works closely with the manufacturer to make sure it fulfils the certification requirements. The criteria for Oeko-Tex® testing is reviewed every year, which means that it is always updated according to the latest advances in medical science.
But what does this really mean?
The easiest way to explain what this means is to use a duvet cover as an example. Every part of the duvet cover, the stitching, buttons, sewing threads, labels and coatings have been tested. Your skin is permeable, so if you are sleeping with a duvet cover or wearing clothes that have been processed with harmful chemicals, these chemicals can be absorbed into your body. Products marked with Oeko-Tex® “Confidence in Textiles” provide assurance that there is protection against allergenic substances, as well as no harmful chemicals and synthetics being used in its production.
How can consumer verify a product is Oeko-Tex® certified?
Consumers can independently verify the validity of an Oeko-Tex® certified label using the test number, which must be displayed on the label, at any time. Go to www.oeko-tex.com/validity to check.
Where can I find out more about Oeko-Tex®?
More information can be found on the Oeko-Tex® website www.orko-tex.com
In our next blog, we will look at the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification label in more detail.
Thanks for reading.