It is getting more popular among commercial brands to provide their logos as a trademark (word, sentence, letters, numbers, symbols, colors, etc.) even among dry-cleaners. Their goal is to get the customers attention with the trademark which symbolizes that they are selling quality goods. It is illegal to use another brand’s trademark without permission. Distinctive quality marks also started to appear. There are four different quality marks in the EU, which assure the customer that the textile was made in an environmentally friendly way and protects the health of the wearer in the best way possible.
The OEKO-TEX “Confidence in textiles - Tested for harmful substances” label shows that the item has a certification according to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX and was tested according to STANDARD 201 by OEKO-TEX. There are four categories which are tested by the company: “Articles for babies and toddlers”, “Articles used close to the skin”, “Articles used away from the skin” and “Materials”. They test the fabrics for a big specter of harmful chemicals, which can only be found in the material in a restricted quantity or should not be found at all. OEKO-TEX products avoid formaldehyde, heavy metals, pH, pesticides, phenols, phthalates, organic tin compounds, biocide, dyes which can cause cancer or allergies, and dyes which contain chloride.
STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX
The goal of the standard is to create a new set of items which are the best from the human ecological aspect, be able to offer textile items with the least possible harmful effects and properly inform the customers – this is what “Confidence in textiles” refers to.
STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX certification process starts with testing of more than a hundred compounds of the textile, in order to discover the harmful substances. They test for illegal and restricted chemicals and substances which can be harmful to health. The company often actualizes its regulations according to the newest scientific discoveries and laws. These can regulate the maximum amount of certain chemicals in the textile.
The use of the following harmful chemicals are restricted:
- Illegal azo dyes
- Dyes causing allergies or cancer
- Phenols containing chlorine
- Organic benzol and toluene containing chlorine
- Heavy metals
- Organic tin compounds
- Biologically active and flammable fabrics
There are restrictions for the following, too:
- Color protection, pH, emission of the components, smell
Protection from harmful UV (Trademarks)
The importance of the mechanical protection of the textiles from the harmful UV is getting more important as the ozone layer gets thinner letting in more sunshine. UV-A causes the early senescence of the skin, while UV-B can be even more harmful. It makes the immune system weaker and can make vaccines less effective. According to dermatologists, 5% rise of UV radiation makes cancer 25% more possible. There are 9 kinds of UV protection (UVF factors) from 15 to 50, and 50+. 15-24 means good protection from UV, 25-35 very good protection, while 40+ means excellent protection. The UV protection of the textile products is affected by the quality, circumstances of manufacturing and the possible application of UV protecting substances.
The EU Ecolabel (“flower”) Trademark
Established in 1992, the label means the standardized symbols environmentally friendly products. It shows that the product meets high environmental standards in all phases of their life-cycle (e.g.: not bleached with chlorine or can be recycled), the annual amount of manufactural sewage is restricted, the compounds used while manufacturing should be biodegradable, can only contain restricted amount of heavy metals, cannot contain substances what can cause cancer, volatile organic compounds, pesticides, pentachloride phenol, any substances which can be harmful for health, which can be found in the description. In Hungary it is not common to use the EU Ecolabel, however, it is widely spread in other parts of Europe. The Hungarian ecolabel is the oak tree, however, the standards for it have not been made yet.
Distinctive quality marks for carpets (Trademarks)
It is important to pay attention to trademarks also when we are buying carpets. The quality marks for carpets usually regulates the following characteristics: environmentally friendly production of the carpet, therefore the substances and methods used for production should harm the environment minimally. The manufacturer has to guarantee that the product does not contain any harmful substances for health. They must avoid hydrocarbons with aroma, esters, and carboxylic acids. The production of waste and old carpets should be recyclable. The company also has to guarantee that its products meet the strict standards by testing them in an accredited institute annually. Only the carpets which have passed can have the GUT-1009 label.