new OEKO-TEX® updates for 2021

At the beginning of the year, the OEKO-TEX® Association updates as usual the test criteria, limit values ​​and applicable requirements for its range of certifications and labels. All new regulations will finally come into force on April 1, 2021 after a transition period.

As part of the 2021 updates, Oeko-Tex has included the integration of recycled materials as part of its Standard 100 standard as well as the systemic integration of carbon and water footprint into its Made in Green. Other updates include changes to limit values ​​for metals in tanned leather and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), the introduction of virtual audits due to ongoing travel restrictions, as well as the disclosure of new substances under observation in 2021.

Recycled materials in OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100

In times of climate change and dwindling raw materials, there is an increasing demand for fashion and textile products made from materials that are already in use. OEKO-TEX® has developed an approach to integrating recycled materials for greater sustainability as part of the OEKO-TEX® STANDARD 100.

This one-size-fits-all approach requires a minimum amount of recycled material in an item, different testing programs depending on the origin of the material, and defining the basic information needed. A hang tag informs consumers about recycling in the direction of a circular economy.

Recycled materials are difficult to certify. With their past life, recycled materials pose different challenges than virgin materials. For this reason, they are treated differently within the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® and receive a special mention in the certificate.

LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® – Chrome-free and metal-free tanned leather

As part of the LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®, the OEKO-TEX® partner institutes will in future also certify chrome-free and metal-free tanned leather. These natural products are tested for metal tanning with different limit values ​​and receive a special mention in the scope of the certificate.


Certifications are proving increasingly in demand – the sustainable label for textiles and leather goods MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX® is again the fastest growing OEKO-TEX® product. Compared to the previous year, the number of labels increased by 267%, from 1093 to 4010 (as of 12/31/2020).

OEKO-TEX®’s goal for 2021 is the systemic integration of the carbon and water footprint into the MADE IN GREEN label. This will allow consumers to discover directly, by scanning the label of each product, the impact of the manufacture of the article concerned on our ecosystem. In order to assess the feasibility and examine how the carbon and water footprint can be integrated as an integral part of the OEKO-TEX® portfolio, OEKO-TEX® started a pilot project at the end of 2019 in cooperation with CALIDA, a global supplier company. underwear and sleepwear asset, and Quantis, a leading international sustainability company known for its metrics-based approach to sustainability.

Virtual Audits

OEKO-TEX® has introduced virtual assessments of production sites due to travel and contact restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 crisis. This applies to STANDARD 100 and LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX® assessments as well as virtual on-site visits for STeP and ECO PASSPORT certifications.

New limit values ​​and updates

Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl compounds (PFAS) are industrial chemicals that are primarily used in coatings for textiles such as outerwear. Based on a recent EU risk assessment, OEKO-TEX® has also changed its limit values ​​for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and salts as well as for PFOA-related substances. In ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX®, titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been added to the CAS number screening for particles of respirable size.

In this context, the STeP by OEKO-TEX® MRSL list has also been expanded to include titanium dioxide (TiO2) for particles of respirable size. OEKO-TEX® is part of a team that recently published the first ZDHC white paper on air emissions. As part of the harmonization process, OEKO-TEX® has tightened sulfur dioxide (SO2) limits for air emissions from solid and liquid fuels under STeP by OEKO-TEX®. Overall, the strict residue requirements in textile materials also lead to less impact on the environment, employees and consumers.

New substances under observation

OEKO-TEX® is also observing various substances in 2021 based on the latest scientific findings and compliance with relevant specifications. This mainly concerns certain substances newly classified as SVHC, which, according to the REACH regulation for the protection of human health and the environment, have been identified as having particularly dangerous characteristics. These include diisocyanates, which can trigger allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. The chemical compounds bis (acetylacetonate) of dibutyltin, 2-methylimidazole and 1-vinylimidazole will also be closely examined in the future.

Source: – 05/01/2021

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