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OEKO Tex Standard 100 is a standard used to check harmful chemicals and heavy metals in apparel and other textile products.
Many Importers are familiar with OEKO Tex Standard 100, but are still uncertain whether compliance is required by law, and how the entire certification process works.
In this article, we answer some of the most common questions clothing and textiles importers have about OEKO Tex Standard 100:
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is an international lab testing and textile certification system, applicable to both fabrics and finished clothing.
OEKO Tex, which is an independent organization based in Switzerland, created the 100 Standard as a collection of several international regulatory frameworks:
However, OEKO Tex takes it one step further than the US and EU, as the 100 Standard also includes the following:
In other words, OEKO Tex Standard 100 sets the bar higher than any government or state agency in the world.
For Importers selling in several countries and markets, ensuring OEKO Tex Standard 100 is simply a matter of practicality, as you can be sure that you match the highest standard there is.
Notice: REACH is an EU regulation, that restricts hundreds of chemicals and heavy metals in textiles, CPSIA, which is only required for children’s products in the United States, restricts lead content in textiles.
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It’s applicable to most types of textile products, and not only clothing textiles.
OEKO Tex separates products into 4 classes:
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is also applicable to zippers, prints, sewing thread and other non-textile components. A test report is only valid for the product as a whole – be that a piece of fabric, or a snowboarding jacket.
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is only applicable to the tested product samples. Hence, a textiles supplier cannot be ‘OEKO Tex Standard 100 Certified’.
With that being said, suppliers can still be divided into two categories:
1. Suppliers making apparel and/or textiles that can pass OEKO Tex Standard 100
2. Suppliers making apparel and/or textiles that cannot pass OEKO Tex Standard 100
It all comes down to the chemicals and heavy metals in the final product.
However, most suppliers fall in between these two categories – simply because the vast majority of textiles suppliers don’t have any data on the chemical and heavy metals content in their fabrics.
But, there are ways to find out if a supplier belongs to the first category of suppliers:
1. Add ‘OEKO Tex Standard 100’ when you search suppliers on Alibaba.com or Globalsources.com (i.e., OEKO Tex Standard 100 Baby Blankets).
2. Ask your supplier to provide an OEKO Tex Standard 100 test report
You can also use the ‘Buyer Guide’ on Oeko-tex.com, that allows you to search companies worldwide, with valid OEKO certificates. OEKO Tex provides the following details for each listed supplier:
REACH is an EU regulation restricting chemicals and heavy metals in all consumer products, sold in the EU. As such, textiles imported to the EU shall not have excessive amounts of lead, cadmium and other substance restricted by REACH.
The only way to find out if a product is REACH compliant, is by sending a sample to a compliance testing company.
OEKO Tex Standard 100 is a collection of EU and US regulations, combined with additional substances that are not banned (yet).
That said, OEKO Tex Standard 100 compliance is not required by law.
No, Standard 100 compliance is not required by law. However, for companies looking to sell textiles worldwide, it’s easier to focus on ensuring Standard 100 compliance for the following reasons:
1. It’s more time consuming to keep track of banned chemicals and other regulations in several countries.
2. Suppliers in China, Vietnam and India tend to be more familiar with the Standard 100 requirements, compared to CA Prop 65, ASTM and other standards.
3. Retailers (which tend to be important customers for textile importers) are also familiar with Standard 100. Some may only consider buying products that are Standard 100 certified.
OEKO Tex Standard 100 offers an ‘all-in-one’ textile standard, that makes life easier for textiles importers. This is also why it’s the most common certification standard in the textiles industry.
As mentioned, an OEKO Tex Standard 100 test report is only applicable to the tested samples. The test report is not valid for an entire factory.
As such, there are no ‘OEKO Tex Standard 100 certified suppliers’. At best, a supplier can provide a few test reports, demonstrating that they can either produce OEKO Tex Standard 100 compliant fabrics, or at least they know where to procure them.
However, you should not expect to find a supplier that can provide test reports for every single fabric and color in their catalog.
Lab testing is done ‘as needed’, as it would cost way too much to test every single fabric and color, on a yearly basis.
You need to request a test report from your supplier. But, as mentioned, it’s unlikely that you will find a test report valid for your specific fabrics and colors, that is still valid.
OEKO Tex Standard 100 test reports expire after 1 year.
Asking for a test report is still a critical part of the sourcing process, as they can help filter out suppliers that simply got no clue what OEKO Tex Standard 100 is.
Given that less than 1 in a 100 suppliers in most Asian countries can prove previous compliance with OEKO Tex Standard 100, it’s crucial that you ask for a test report in the initial stages of the sourcing report.
You can do a validity check on oeko-tex.com. All you need is the certificate number, that is always specified on the report.
Remember to always compare the following information:
Some suppliers may try to use OEKO Tex Standard 100 test reports from other factories, only to edit out some information and claim it as its own. However, this is easy to spot by using the online validity check.
If you’re buying finished apparel, rather than fabrics, it’s very unlikely that the supplier will have test reports matching the entire set of materials and components.
However, you can still book lab testing for an ‘uncertified’ product. This is also what most Importers do, as it’s the only option.
Just keep in mind that you, as an importer, will need to cover the cost.
OEKO Tex cooperates with many companies, operating testing facilities worldwide. Hence, samples don’t need to be posted all the way from Vietnam or China, to the head office in Switzerland.
Below follows an overview of the offices in China, Vietnam and India:
The full list can be found here.
In general, testing costs start from around $400 per product. However, the final cost depends on the following factors:
In other words, testing a collection of ski jackets, with a large number of layers and components, is far more expensive than simpler textile products – which may only consist of one fabric and color.
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Co-founder of Asiaimportal (HK) Limited and based in Hong Kong. He has been quoted in and contributed to Bloomberg, SCMP, Alibaba Insights, Globalsources.com, China Chief Executive, Quartz Magazine and more.
10 Responses to “OEKO Tex Standard 100: A Complete Guide”
Hi, My supplier is having Oekotex certificate of Class 1, however, the lace source supplier is having Class 2. Will it be ok or not possible to sell the product in Class 1 category?
Hello, i want creat My OWN label . Kids underwear and pyjama’s. Do you know a garment who can help me. Thanks
Hi. How does the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 testing compare to the California Prop 65 list of chemicals that require warnings? How do I get a list of things tested in the Standard 100, assuming the two lists are not identical and I would need to do my own further testing?
You can find a list here: https://www.oeko-tex.com/en/apply-here/standard-100-by-oeko-tex
To clarify: The page references regulations such as REACH. Then you can take it one step further and check the list of restricted substances and compare that to CA Prop 65. Personally I’d just get a lab to do it for me.
what we need for class-2 .
we have already new oekotex certificate.
I have the following question about Standard 100 by OEKO TEX:
1. The article mentioned “the 100 Standard as a collection of several international regulatory frameworks: REACH (European Union) and CPSIA (United States)”
Does this mean the importer is required to do prerequisite lab tests (such as REACH, CPSIA, California Proposition 65) first for a product before submitting the product to OEKO TEX for a lab test? OR, once the product is OEKO TEX compliance, no additional lab tests are required – the importer is not required to do the redundant lab tests ( such as REACH, CPSIA, California Proposition 65)?
2. Since Standard 100 by OEKO TEX test report is only valid within a year, does this mean the after the test report is expired the importer needs to get the product tested again even if the product is from the same batch production? For example, the importer purchased 1000 units of a textile product and send a sample from the batch production to OEKO TEX for a lab test. After a year the test report is expired but there are 200 units unsold. In order to renew the certificate, the importer will need to get 1 unit from the remaining 200 units and send it to OEKO TEX to get tested again?
Would fire retardants be used with products in this category?
Could you please confirm that NO Animals are used in the process of these tests
Why would animals be used in textiles testing?
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