One of the peculiarities of the textile industry is that each phase of production, from raw materials to the finished products, is often carried out in different parts of the world; this extremely fragmented pattern involves many companies, which are often subject to different legislation according to the country they operate in. In 1992, such considerations led to the implementation of the STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® which has now become a benchmark for the entire industry: a worldwide consistent independent testing and certification system for raw materials, semi-finished and finished textile products at each stage of processing, as well as any accessory materials used.
For this purpose, a series of inspection criteria, limit values and test methods (by far the strictest of any national or international parameters in force) have been developed on scientific grounds, to enable the standardization of the respective international differences relating to the evaluation of harmful substances.
To fulfil the objective of creating a label for consumers and a single standard for the evaluation of harmful substances on the part of producers operating in the textile and apparel industries, the OEKO-TEX® system is based on the following criteria:
- the use of standardized testing systems based on scientific research (pertinent to the health safety of textile products)
- annual updates and the development of limit values and analysis/certification criteria managed by independent and competent quality control bodies
- testing of raw materials, semi-finished and finished products at all stages of the manufacturing process (modular principle)
- use of raw materials already OEKO-TEX® certified, which produces synergic effects in product compliance tests thanks to the internal management of company quality control
- company audits to guarantee an optimal certification procedure and targeted support of company quality control
- product monitoring by means of regular market tests and in-company inspections carried out by independent inspectors of the OEKO-TEX® Association
Consequently, the OEKO-TEX® label represents a tangible added value for consumers: a garment of any textile product certified OEKO-TEX® has been scrupulously inspected to ensure that it is perfectly innocuous for human health, thereby guaranteeing an elevated overall product safety: all components of an article (not only its outer fabric, but also its sewing threads, padding, prints etc. and non-textile accessories such as buttons, zippers or studs) must comply with the required criteria.
The OEKO-TEX® tests for harmful substances are fundamentally based on the respective purpose of the textiles and materials. The more intensive the skin contact of a product and the more sensitive the skin, the stricter the human-ecological requirements that need to be complied with.
Accordingly, a distinction is made between four product classes:
- Product class I:
- Articles for babies and toddlers up to 3 years of age (underwear, rompers, clothing, bed linen, terry products etc.)
- Product class II:
- Articles that are worn close to the skin (underwear, bed linen, t-shirts, socks etc.)
- Product class III:
- Articles used away from the skin (jackets, coats etc.)
- Product class IV:
- Decoration/Furnishing materials (curtains, tablecloths, upholstery covers etc.)
The attainment of STANDARD 100 Certification by OEKO-TEX® therefore represents an important and constant commitment for a textile company as well as being a valid quality certification of its manufacturing processes, in the interests of the end-consumers’ health.
M.I.T.I. has been OEKO-TEX® certified since 1995: in the last 23 years the company has been committed to guaranteeing the best quality standards of its fabrics through the certification of the product class with the most stringent characteristics (class I: articles for babies and toddlers up to 3 years of age)