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Testing/​Standards

New judgement on SVHC in clothing does not affect Oeko-Tex Standard 100

The court has decided that the found concentration of a SVHC substance must refer to the examined single component and not the entire garment.

14th October 2015

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Zurich

Sustainable, Clothing/​Footwear, Medical/Hygiene

The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has decided that the notification and information obligations relating to SVHC substances (substances of very high concern) for producers, importers and/or suppliers are valid for all individual articles that are components of a complex whole product (entire article).

The court also ruled that the SVHC threshold value of 0.1 % by weight and the calculation of a found SVHC substance refer to the examined single article and not to the entire article.

This decision does not require a change for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, according to the organisation. The judgement of the ECJ in fact confirms the procedure that has always been practised for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and links in with the views of the Oeko-Tex Association, it reports.

Testing of single components

In laboratory tests carried out in accordance with the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, it has always been standard practice to test each material and component individually and to exclusively refer to and calculate any possible findings directly to the examined material/part article (threads, buttons, knitwear, prints, fabrics, labels, metal accessories, etc.).

It is the view of the Oeko-Tex Association that, with regard to a high level of protection for human health and the duty of care, this would be neither conclusive nor expedient to reference the entire textile/clothing.

If, for example, a critical substance is found in the lining of a jacket in a harmful concentration, it would be less relevant to calculate the determined quantity of the harmful substance for the total weight of the jacket.

REACh regulation

In accordance with the European REACh regulation (EC) no. 1907/2006, there is an obligation for all actors throughout the entire supply chain to provide information in the case of articles for which the threshold value of 0.1% by weight is exceeded for SVHC candidate substances and, if requested, to also provide information for consumers.

Depending on the total annual production or the use of a SVHC substance further steps such as registration for this specific use may be necessary for producers or importers.

Differences of opinion

With regard to the threshold value of 0.1% for the SVHC substances, there have, for a long time, been differences of opinion between different EU member states (among others Germany, France, Denmark and Austria) and the European Commission and the ECHA.

The debate was about whether the concentration of a SVHC substance found in a component (single article on an entire article) should refer to and be calculated for the single component or the entire article of clothing.

With this decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) has now clarified matters and decided that the found concentration of a SVHC substance must refer to and be calculated for the examined single component and not to the entire article to which it belongs.

www.oeko-tex.com

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