What is OEKO-TEX®?
As the fashion and textile industries have competed for consumer approval by focusing on how things look and how well they work, they have also increased their use of chemicals. There are now around 8000 different synthetic substances used in these industries. In fact, giving fabrics the right mix of chemicals can give them the qualities needed to make a product that can be sold. After all, who doesn't want their clothes' colors and prints to last a long time or their gear to be odorless, waterproof, and resistant to UV rays in harsh conditions? Sounds great, right?
Yes, all of these features are made possible by science and may use things that could be bad for human health, like compounds that can cause cancer. But we aren't often told how bad it is for our health, the environment, and the community as a whole. That’s why we’re introducing you to OEKO-TEX®, for the uninitiated. Or, as we call it, Certified Clean.
If you are reading this, you are eco-minded or, at least, eco-curious. So, it is quite likely that you are familiar with the OEKO-TEX® label since it is often seen on items such as clothes, bedding, and towels.
In this post, we're going to give you the basics you should know about OEKO-TEX®, as well as OEKO-TEX® Standard 100, and BSCI: what it is and why each is important to be educated on, as well as other terms, in your consumer product purchasing now and in the future.
The Basics of OEKO-TEX®
In short, OEKO-TEX® is made up of a collection of third-party certifications that indicate that a product has been examined for chemicals that have the potential to be detrimental to both people and the wider ecosystems in which we live. OEKO-TEX® is not a manufacturer of any items; rather, it is an organization that validates the products manufactured by other companies.
OEKO-TEX® is not a manufacturer of any items; rather, it is an organization that validates the products manufactured by other companies.
OEKO-TEX® was established in 1992 and has since grown to include 18 independent organizations that are represented in different parts of the globe as well as six distinct sets of standards that are used for various reasons.
Their overarching mission is to “create trust in textiles and leather and in their production: through increased product safety, improving sustainable production and a sustainable, transparent value-creation chain.”
Why choose OEKO-TEX®?
Certification from a third party are very significant for stopping greenwashing and are thus very important to consumers and the textile industry. Greenwashing is becoming an increasingly significant concern as sustainable living becomes more fashionable.
We, as conscientious customers and manufacturers, want businesses to demonstrate that they are putting their money where their mouth is rather than just jumping on the green bandwagon with their marketing lingo, which is quite simple for businesses to do. Having a body from the outside come in and verify their operations and goods in accordance with a certain set of standards may be helpful in making this occur.
We choose OEKO-TEX® because it goes above and beyond.
The substance limit values specified in the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 are, in many instances, more stringent than the criteria stipulated at the national and international levels. The criterion catalog expands with the introduction of new scientific information, and it is updated on a yearly basis.
In order to assist businesses in ensuring that their health and safety requirements are up to date and compliant, OEKO-TEX® provides a consolidated repository of knowledge on the safety of textiles, ranging from thread to fabric, notifications, and finishes.
It is difficult for many textile firms to secure the safety and longevity of their goods on their own since there are so many possible chemicals to consider in the context of a shifting global landscape of production and product development processes. Not only can the use of independent certification boost customer trust in a company's sustainability and safety claims, but it also gives firms and consumers access to knowledge that may not be otherwise readily accessible to each group separately.
What is the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100?
To attain OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification, the fabric has been tested and certified to be free from harmful levels of more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health.
The whole of the clothing, including the seams, zippers, buttons, and coatings, was examined and evaluated for quality. Because your skin is porous, it is possible for dangerous chemicals that have been used in the manufacturing process of the garments you wear to be absorbed into your body if you are wearing those clothes.
- The certification is voluntary;
- It must be updated annually;
- Certification is conducted by independent third-party laboratories;
- The criteria for OEKO-TEX® testing are reviewed every year, so they’re always up to date;
- The testing takes into account every conceivable way that harmful substances can enter the body; and,
- OEKO-TEX® is a global standard, so it’s the same in every country.
Even though you should always wash new clothing before wearing them, the OEKO-TEX® certification is your assurance that the manufacturing process for your new garments did not include the use of any chemicals that may be dangerous.
What are the other OEKO-TEX® Standards?
OEKO-TEX® has a portfolio consisting of five different standards at all times. Textile and leather goods are put through rigorous safety inspections using standards known as "Standard 100" and "Leather Standard." STeP, or Sustainable Textile & Leather Production, is a certification system for socially responsible and environmentally-friendly production facilities. It is a certification system that is modular in nature. The MADE IN GREEN badge is a traceable product mark that assures the safety of consumers and enables the tracking of various types of textiles to STeP-certified facilities. And lastly, ECO PASSPORT is the regulatory body that oversees the industry's usage of chemicals and colors.
Organic vs. OEKO-TEX® Certified
However, fabric that is certified as OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 is not the same as organic.
In order for the textiles to be eligible for organic certification, such as cotton, wool, bamboo, hemp, flax, and other natural fibers must be cultivated and processed in accordance with stringent regulations regarding the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
In addition, the fabric must comply with the fiber production and processing requirements set out by organizations such as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) in order to carry the organic label. These are different certification authorities, dealing with separate aspects of textiles.
However, just because a fabric is organic does not mean that it has been checked for the presence of dangerous compounds in the same way as an OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification would.
GOTS vs. OEKO-TEX® Certified
You may have also heard of another certification, GOTS. In contrast to OEKO-TEX®, GOTS, also known as the Global Organic Textile Standard, is only applicable to textiles that are composed of at least 70 percent organic materials (such as cotton, wool, silk, etc.). Additionally, having the GOTS emblem on your product indicates that all of the processors, producers and traders in your supply chain have been given certification. This comprises the pretreatment of the fiber, the spinning of the yarn, the wet processing, the sewing, the packaging, the labeling, and the distribution.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is a textile processing standard for organic fibers that includes social and ecological criteria and is supported by independent certification of the whole of the textile supply chain. It does not provide criteria for the production of the organic fiber itself, which falls within the purview of official organic farming regulations such as the USDA NOP. In order to carry the GOTS site in the supply chain, it must be accredited, and the product must include organic fiber that is 70 percent of the total.
I’ve heard of BSCI, too, what does BSCI mean?
The BSCI, or the Business Social Compliance Initiative, Certified, means that a company meets or exceeds the benchmarks for social responsibility in business in our supply chain – not textile safety.
The principles of the BSCI are:
- Fair wages and decent working hours.
- Safe, healthy, discrimination-free work conditions.
- Being environmentally conscious.
- Being ethical in business behavior.
- No precarious or bonded employment.
- The right to collective bargaining.
- No forced or child labor.
What does BSCI have to do with Vibrant?
We are proud of being awarded the BSCI certification, in addition to OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 or Certified Clean, adhering to all of the above principles for social responsibility.
Vibrant believes that it should be a basic standard that shouldn’t be a second thought in the global supply chain, just like the safety of its textiles. These are the basics.
We believe in not just feeling good but doing good.
What does OEKO-TEX® have to do with Vibrant?
Vibrant’s Certified Clean promise is the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 promise.
Constructed with 100% OEKO-TEX® Certified Clean materials, our groundbreaking EveryWear Bra™ design has broken the mold in how women think about wire-less bras. It’s the underwire support without the tight, restrictive wires.
We source the most exceptional, European and global textiles and materials we could find after many years of research and quality testing to be safe as much as they are supple, soft and sturdy.
We are one of the breakthrough bra and underwear companies to achieve 100 percent OEKO-TEX® Certified Clean Certification status. This is a certification we take very, very seriously as it’s at the forefront of everything we do, to do what’s best for a woman’s health and wellness.
We believe what goes on your body goes in your body.
OEKO-TEX® Certified means that all of Vibrant’s products are proven free of harmful levels of substances such as heavy metals, toxic dyes, and carcinogens. It takes into account many regulated and non-regulated substances, which may be harmful to human health.
The OEKO-TEX® is the globally accepted standard that ensures that textiles are safe for people and the environment – and that’s something we believe in.
The standard applies to various levels of production, such as raw and finished fibers and foam. For a whole garment to be certified, all of its components need to have certification. In Vibrant’s case, everything we make is OEKO-TEX® Certified, or Certified Clean.
The OEKO-TEX® Certification is based on tests on the release of any harmful substances from the material, which has to meet a scientifically-founded criteria catalog with more than 100 individual parameters. The closer the material comes into contact with the skin, the higher the requirements need to be met in tests.
One may pick and choose among the available OEKO-TEX® standards since the organization maintains a portfolio of them. Because textile certification uses a modular system, consumers can confidently choose the Standard 100 Certification/Certified Clean Certification to ensure the safety of their garments.
Where can I learn more?
Follow OEKO-TEX on Instagram and Facebook and turn on notifications or bookmark the OEKO-TEX Label Check tool.
Watch this documentary, Film: RiverBlue, about the future of water and the harmful effects of fast fashion and the substances used in the industry.
To check out more about these chemicals and their harm, we call out the five most commonly used chemicals in the production of traditional intimates and clothing on our site. The list can be found at:
Everything Vibrant Body Company does starts with what's best for women's health, well-being and her comfort.