ZÜRICH—At the end of February 2011, the International OEKO-TEX Association issued the hundred-thousandth certificate since the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 was established as a global independent certification system for textiles tested for harmful substances. Currently, more than 9,500 companies in total in 90 countries throughout the world are actively involved in OEKO-TEX certification. In recent years, the 15 OEKO-TEX member institutes have processed on average more than 10,000 certificates per calendar year.
The main focus of OEKO-TEX certification is articles worn close to the skin in product class II (53 percent of all certificates), followed by baby articles in product class I (43 percent) as well as furnishing materials (3 percent, product class IV) and textiles without direct contact with the skin (1 percent, product class III). In regional terms, the majority of Oeko-Tex certificates are issued to companies in Asia (54.9 percent) and Europe (41.9 percent), but regions with fewer certificates issued such as North America have reportedly shown significant growth. China is the country with the most valid OEKO-TEX certificates, closely followed by Germany and Turkey, Italy and India.
The modular principle of the OEKO-TEX tests for harmful substances, reportedly allowing for products at all stages of the processing chain to be certified and for existing certificates for source materials to be recognized for subsequent stages of manufacturing as part of product certification.
The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is also said to be used by associations or other organizations as a guide for other international lists of restricted harmful substances and is accepted by several legislators, such as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as evidence of compliance with existing regulations relating to harmful substances.