Confidence in Textiles: since 1992 that has been the motto of OEKO-TEX Standard 100, the gold standard for independent testing of fabrics for harmful substances. The internationally binding test catalogue according to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is based on scientifically-proven parameters and is revised annually in line with the latest legislation and research. It includes the following:
- Illegal substances such as carcinogenic colorants (causes cancer).
- Legally regulated substances such as heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc.).
- Substances which are known to be harmful to health but not yet regulated /prohibited by law such as pesticides, allergenic dyes (causes allergies).
- Parameters such as color fastness (lasting colors) and a skin-friendly pH-value (sensitive skin friendly), which are precautionary measures to safeguard consumer health.
Textile ecology consists of 3 sectors:
- Production ecology
Examines the impact of production processes on people and environment, e.g. occupational health and safety, material, water and energy consumption, waste water and waste treatment as well as generation of dust and noise.
- Human ecology
Human ecology deals with the impact of textiles and their chemical ingredients on the health and well-being of humans.
- Performance ecology
Performance ecology comes in at the usage phase of textile products. It examines the environmental impact of washing, cleaning and caring for textiles.
Textile products may be certified according to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 only if all components meet the required criteria without exception. The certification is carried out following a written application by the manufacturer to one of the authorized test institutes or official representative offices around the world. The submitted sample materials are tested exclusively at the member institutes in Europe and Japan to ensure a consistently high testing level.
One prerequisite for the awarding of certification is a declaration of conformity by the manufacturer stating the successfully tested textile samples shall correspond at all times with the quality of the products manufactured or sold throughout the 12 month license period.
Another prerequisite for certification are company audits, where auditors from OEKO-TEX test institutes, together with the applying company, examine the company quality assurance and production processes to create the best possible certification conditions and to ensure steady human ecology product quality for the duration of the certification. The OEKO-TEX certification also includes regular product controls as a fixed part of the system. These are carried out on the market by the OEKO-TEX institutes to ensure compliance with the required criteria on a regular basis.
Labotex performs a wide range of mechanical tests (including the Martindale and Wyzenbeek tests) according to the strictest standards laid down by leading international organizations. These standards include:
- ISO (International Standard)
- EN (European Standard)
- BS (British Standard)
- IMO (International Maritime Standard)
- ASTM (American Standard)
Both the Martindale (International) and Wyzenbeek (American) tests assess a fabric's resistance to abrasion (scuffing, scratching, wearing down, and rubbing away). These two methods are commonly used to predict durability. Actual performance is determined by many factors, including:
- Fibre content
Durability of an upholstery fabric is a complex combination of a number of performance tests that, in addition to abrasion, includes seam slippage, piling, tensile strength, and usage. However, you cannot assume that if a fabric scores 30,000 Wyzenbeek, it will definitely score 40,000 Martindale. That would simply be wrong. The Martindale could be higher or lower: you have to test it to know for certain. For example, with Heavy Duty usage, you might specify 30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek OR 40,000 cycles Martindale method.