April 7th 2014
All the lovely colored felt I use for my pincushions and needle books is made from 100% merino wool (except for the white which is a wool/rayon blend) and is imported from Holland. The felt is soft and really nice to handle and work with. The colors are beautiful and consistent. Sure, I could save a few dollars and work with a lesser quality felt but it wouldn't be the same. On the bag the felt comes in, is a label stating it is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified. Now I'm a curious person and I've seen that designation on a lot of labels and wondered what it meant so I spent a bit of quality time with Google.
It turns out that OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is an independent testing and certification system for textiles. It is applied to raw materials, right though all production stages to finished products. It was introduced in 1992 by the Hohenstein Institute in Austria. Simply, it gives consumers a guarantee that items with this label have been tested and found free of a long list of very nasty stuff including, formaldehyde, pesticides and heavy metals. For an item to be certified, every part of it must meet the criteria. So, for example, on a garment, that would include not only the fabric but also the thread, buttons, zippers and trim etc. For the felt I use that means not only the felt itself but also the dyes have passed the testing process and earned this label. Interestingly, the closer to the skin the item is used, the more stringent the criteria and items for use by babies and small children have the toughest requirements of all. I am not claiming that my pincushions and needle books are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 compliant but most of the felt I use is and I feel good about that.
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