What does it mean for a fabric to be Oeko-Tex certified?
The goal of Oeko-Tex fabric safety standard is to ensure that fabrics pose no risk to human health.
The Oeko-Tex Standard, in use since 1992, prohibits the same long list of chemicals that GOTS prohibits; but Oeko-Tex addresses nothing else about the production steps. For example, wastewater treatment is not required, nor are workers rights addressed. It is NOT an organic certification and products bearing this mark are not necessarily made from organically grown fibers – or from natural fibers at all. Plastic yarn (polyester, nylon, acrylic) is permitted. Oeko-Tex is only concerned with the safety of the final product.
The Oeko-Tex 100 certification does emphasize thorough testing for a lengthy list of chemicals which are known or suspected to harm health, including lead, antimony, arsenic, phthalates, pesticides, and chlorinated phenols. The official table of limits for tested chemicals may be found on the Oeko-Tex website (LINK). Specifically banned are:
- All flame retardants
- Carcinogenic and allergy-inducing dyes
- Chlorinated phenols
- Chloro-organic benzenes and toluenes
- Heavy metals
- Organotin compounds (TBT and DBT)
Oeko-Tex certified fabrics are required to have a skin friendly pH. If you remember your high school chemistry, pH is the indication of the level of acidity or base (salt). Skin's natural pH is a tad acidic, and when it's eroded your defenses are down, leaving you vulnerable to bacteria, moisture loss, and irritation. Oeko-Tex certified fabrics will not create these stresses. And the fabrics will feel lovely against your skin.
To read more about Oeko Tex, go to https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/manufacturers/manufacturers.xhtml
What does it mean for a fabric to be GOTS certified?
It means a whole lot, including that at least 90% of fibers to be certified organic (ours are 100%); no chemicals can be used which have been proven to harm humans or the environment at any stage of the textile production process; water must be treated to a very high standard before release; and certain worker safety and worker rights issues are honored, like no child or slave labor and a certain minimal level of safe working conditions (Still a prominent problem in textile production.) Although it does not explicitly address carbon footprint, a GOTS certified FABRIC is the best choice by far, carbon-wise right now. Exponentially better than recycled polyester, for instance, or of conventional cotton fabric.
Fabric made from organic fibers which have been processed conventionally can be – and almost always is – full of residual toxic chemicals – and its production may have released tons of chemicals into the environment; its carbon footprint stinks and worker safety is suspect.
|Fabric made with "organic fiber" - but processed conventionally||GOTS compliant fabric|
|Uses organic fibers only||YES||YES|
|Free of any known chemicals that can harm you or the ecosystem||NO||YES|
|Water used in processing is treated before release||NO||YES|
|Workers are paid fair wages; working conditions are hygienic||NO||YES|