New Zealand is a major producer of wool and leather. This year the export value of wool from the island has reached roughly 600 Mio USD. But can customers feel confident leather and textile goods they buy are safe from harmful levels of chemical substances?
Untreated leather is meant to decompose. So, various processes such as tanning, dyeing and finishing are used which introduce a host of chemicals, some of which have significant adverse effects on human health, such as hexavalent chromium salts and formaldehyde.
Despite the introduction of numerous hazardous chemicals to the production process, the leather market is increasingly responding to the demand for better regulated, health friendly manufacturing. Authorities, NGOs and end consumers are all calling for more transparency and stricter regulation within the industry.
The certification label “LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®” assures the leather goods you are buying are free from harmful levels of hundreds of substances.
Any leather product, both finished and semi-finished, such as shoes or upholstery materials, can be certified according to the standard. During the certification process, leather products are tested for legally banned and dangerous substances, such as formaldehyde, heavy metals and preservative agents. The closer the product is in contact with the skin and the younger the person wearing it, the stricter the limit values that need to be fulfilled. Therefore, a distinction is made between four product categories: product class I (items for babies and toddlers) through to product class IV (furnishing materials such as upholstery covers).
Amongst the certificate holders around the world, NZ sheepskin producer G.L. Bowron and the retail chain LIDL now instil confidence in their leather products with the “LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®”.
TESTEX can now provide immediate service to its NZ customers with a branch office in New Zealand which opened earlier this year.
Today’s consumers are more informed, demanding and keen to make conscious purchasing choices.