OEKO-TEX has selected W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) as the January 2015 Company of the Month for its sustainability program in the Fabrics Division. OEKO-TEX launched this campaign to recognize textile companies for their ongoing commitment to product safety and sustainable production processes. The International OEKO-TEX Association is responsible for testing textiles for harmful substances listed in the OEKO-TEX Standard 100.
Since 1996, Gore Fabrics has been working with the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification to demonstrate that its products are safe for its customers. The current award recognizes Gore as one of the first to eliminate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from all raw materials for its fabrics products, which they completed in 2013. Dr. Jean-Pierre Haug, general secretary of OEKO-TEX, explained the selection, saying, “In the areas of product safety and sustainable production conditions, Gore sets the standards for the textile industry….We have named Gore as the OEKO-TEX January 2015 Company of the Month in recognition of its constant efforts to find new ways forward that ultimately provide a role model for the rest of the textile industry.”
Gore’s Technical Fabrics team has also been working to ensure the safety of fabrics used in gear worn by first responders. For example, in March 2010, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the chemical industry undertook an initiative to ban particular brominated flame retardants from the firefighting market. But prior to this initiative, Gore had removed any bromine and antimony-based retardants from its fabrics.
The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 evaluates textiles for 18 types of forbidden flame retardants, including approximately nine types of brominated products. In 2011, Gore’s US-based fire and public safety team applied for and received OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification–making GORERT7100, CROSSTECH 3-layer, and CROSSTECH black moisture barriers the only moisture barriers in the North American fire market to be free of bromine and antimony-based flame retardants and have this certification today. This certification ensures that Gore’s moisture barriers do not contain or contribute any potentially harmful substances to the structural turnout gear in which they are incorporated.
According to Bernhard Kiehl, global sustainability leader for Gore Fabrics, “As a company whose core competence lies in the field of innovation, it is our commitment to continually drive ecological and social development efforts without compromising the functionality or durability of our products. We are extremely pleased that OEKO-TEX has recognized our sustainability program as exemplary in the textile industry.” For more information about OEKO-TEX, visit www.oeko-tex.com.