At the beginning of the year, Oeko-Tex announced innovations for limit value requirements and substances in the textile industry. The stricter guideline values are intended to reduce environmental pollution.

The new Oeko-Tex guidelines will come into force on 1 April 2019. Consumer protection and sustainability along the value chain of textiles and leather are to be further strengthened by the adjustments.

These are the most important changes:

With regard to the “REACH Annex XVII CMR legislation” (Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/1513), which comes into force on 1 November 2020, Oeko-Tex is already making changes. The introduction of the “Standard 100 and Leather Standard” regulates limit value requirements for substances such as benzene and quinoline. The latter has been under observation by Oeko-Tex since the end of 2018.
Benzene is mainly used in the chemical industry. Since the substance is carcinogenic and harmful to germ cells, it is used almost exclusively as a raw material in the manufacture of industrial chemicals. Oeko-Tex: “Benzene is not to be expected to increase in textiles and our previous tests, which were also carried out in advance, showed no abnormalities. Nevertheless, benzene is regulated in the STANDARD 100, since it is now also subject to a limit value under the new “REACH CMR Regulation (2018/1513).”

Quinoline is classified as hazardous to the environment and is also suspected of being carcinogenic. According to “Zentrum der Gesundheit” (“Center of Health”), this substance is found mainly in polyester. This is also confirmed by Oeko-Tex: “One possible entry route (but we would like to emphasise that this is also very often not the case) is via colourants. In this case, the findings were more likely to be found in synthetic materials (polyester), but most of them were below the limit value of < 50 mg/kg (i.e. the limit value required by STANDARD 100, LEATHER STANDARD and REACH CMR Regulation). In the preliminary investigations, however, there were also some limit value exceedances in the range of 60 – 70 mg/kg. However, the OEKO-TEX® Association will initially be broadening the scope of its tests.”

“Various substances of very high concentrations have also been newly included in the limit value catalogues: these are siloxanes D4, D5 and D6 as well as azodicarboxamide (ADCA). Furthermore, the metals barium and selenium are now subject to a requirement regarding their extractable content,” according to a current press release.

Other limit values, such as those for plasticizers, have been tightened. “The even stricter requirements for residues in textile materials also lead to a lower overall impact on the environment, workers and consumers,” it continues.

Oeko-Tex puts glyphosate under observation

In 2019, two new product groups will be under observation: glyphosate and its salts as well as the carcinogenic N-nitrosamines and N-nitrosatable substances. Glyphosate has attracted a great deal of media attention in recent years. The EU approval was extended to five years for a limited period at the end of 2017. This particularly upset various consumer and nature conservationists.

According to the German Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.) (BUND) glyphosate is a so-called “total herbicide” and the best-selling herbicide in the world. Only genetically modified plants can survive their use. According to the WHO, glyphosate is classified as “probably carcinogenic” and contributes significantly to the agricultural decline in the agricultural landscape.

Oeko-Tex argues as follows: “It is true that glyphosate is very present in the media and also that the scientific assessments regarding human toxicology are very controversial here. However, one must also consider what concentrations are attacked by different groups in relation to glyphosate. In addition, often no real concentrations are communicated. Further, often determined findings are in the absolute trace range and nevertheless extremely critical reports are made. In this respect, the Oeko-Tex Association would first like to obtain a good overview and determine whether relevant concentrations of glyphosate are present in textiles at all. Since the Oeko-Tex Association is independent, further evaluations and decisions can be made at relatively short notice if necessary. From today’s perspective, however, we do not expect this to be necessary.”

Extended product portfolio for sustainable production conditions

“The STeP assessment will also be extended to leather production sites in 2019. In the course of this integration, the name will also change: “Sustainable Textile Production” will become “Sustainable Textile and Leather Production” – the product name STeP will remain,” says Oeko-Tex.

 

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Link: Oeko-Tex new regulations 2019

Picture: Oeko-Tex

//CF