Zurich, Switzerland – In time for its 25-year anniversary, the OEKO-TEX® Association has expanded its product portfolio to cater for the leather sector with the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®. The first certifications are being carried out with the sheepskin producers G.L. Bowron and Gerberei Hofbrucker, as well as with the retail chain LIDL. The group from Neckarsulm, Germany, will use the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® for advertising purposes across Europe. Further certificates are expected to be granted soon.
From January 2017, the OEKO-TEX® Association inspectes and certifies leather products, such as all types of clothing, leather shoes, upholstery materials, as well as products that are a mixture of textiles and leather, in addition to textile products. The OEKO-TEX® Association is therefore responding to the latest developments in the textile and leather goods market.
The requirements of the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® criteria catalogue are almost similar stringent as those in the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® criteria catalogue. Thus, key statutory regulations as well as numerous chemicals that are harmful to health are covered, even if they have not yet been legally regulated. Moreover, the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® corresponds to the requirements from the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regarding lead. During certification, leather products are tested with regard to formaldehyde, heavy metals such as chromium(VI), chromium, arsenic, lead and cadmium, pesticides, chlorinated phenols, phthalates, processing agents and preservatives, PFOS, PFOA, as well as banned Azo colourants and other colourants, among other things. Product features, for example colour fastness, are also tested, and an olfactory test is performed. The main component of products that are made from both leather and textiles determines the certification that applies to the product: STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® or LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®. The tests, however, cover the complete product, including all textile and leather components, yarns, zip fasteners and buttons, etc.
As with the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®, the following also applies to the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®: the more intensive the skin contact, the stricter the limit values that need to be fulfilled. A distinction is therefore made between four product categories: product class I (items for babies and toddlers) through to product class IV (furnishing materials such as upholstery covers, etc.).
Since 1992, the aim of the OEKO-TEX® Association has been to ensure independent verification, thereby generating credibility along the supply chain for the consumer. With the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®, this objective has now been strategically extended and is reflected in the new name for the association: The International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile and Leather Ecology.