Why Do Oeko-Tex and GOLS Certifications Matter?
August 8, 2022
If asked to go back to a time before gas stoves and flushing toilets, many of us would balk at the mere idea of doing so. We live in a time full of possibilities, where new technological advancements are made every day. And, while innovation undoubtedly makes our lives a lot more convenient, it presents its own share of problems. Greenhouse gases, chemicals, and other man-made pollutants have a devastating impact on the planet—and our bodies. It’s a frightening thought that we may be exposing ourselves to hundreds or thousands of toxic chemicals with products we use in everyday life, but it’s even more frightening to think of our children being exposed to them. As parents, we prioritize our children’s safety over all else. It’s the reason we use car seats, purchase organic produce when financially feasible, and look for toys made from BPA-free plastic. Although it’s impossible to know the invisible dangers that every product poses to our babies, there are certain labels, like Oeko-Tex and GOLS, that make it easier for parents to distinguish which products are safer than others.
When purchasing clothing, bedding, or furniture, you may notice that some products are labeled as being Oeko-Tex certified. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the International Oeko-Tex Association has been around since 1992 and operates in over 40 countries. Oeko-Tex is one of the best known labels worldwide when it comes to product safety and social responsibility. Its most famous certification is the Standard 100, and products that carry that label are free of high levels of over 100 harmful substances that are dangerous for humans as well as the environment. To receive the certification, every single component of the product is tested to ensure that no harmful chemicals were used in any stage of processing. If an article of clothing is Oeko-Tex certified, you can be sure every component, from the threads to the zipper coating, are free of those harmful substances.
The Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) is a materials and processing standard for organic latex and finished latex foam. Latex products that have a GOLS certification are considered the gold standard—they meet a stringent criteria that covers the entire supply chain, from harvesting raw materials to responsibly manufacturing, packing, and distributing the final product. The standard concentrates on the use of organic raw material, human health, safety, and welfare, and the environment. Because GOLS is a global standard, its limits on harmful substances are usually far lower than an individual country’s legal limits. Its criteria includes environmental guidelines for pollution and impact minimization, social guidelines to protect farm and factory workers from exploitation, and manufacturing guidelines to protect consumers from unsafe or unethical practices.
Although we would all like to be eco-conscious consumers, manufacturers don’t always make it easy for us to buy green. When you buy a product that is GOLS-certified, you not only reduce chemical pollutants in your home, but also in the environment. GOLS-approved products are responsibly made and do not emit gases that are harmful to you or the environment. Parenthood and environmentalism go hand-in-hand. We should all care about the planet we live on, but once we start raising the next generation of its inhabitants, it’s impossible not to worry about what environmental issues like climate change will mean for our children, our children’s children, and so on. Not to mention, the last thing we want is to accidentally expose our babies to toxic chemicals.
Because most of us have no insight into the way the products we all purchase and use are made, certifications like Oeko-Tex and GOLS are the quickest and most efficient way to guarantee that these products are safe for us and our children. These certifications are a way to hold manufacturers accountable and ensure that the products we buy are environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and safe. There is peace of mind with the knowledge that these certified products have met such a strict criteria because it means we are getting exactly what we are paying for. Too many companies use greenwashing to mislead customers into believing they’re buying an eco-friendly product. They slap buzzword labels like “natural” and “non-toxic” on their products, knowing that their consumers want to be safe and eco-conscious. Certifications like Oeko-Tex and GOLS are a guarantee that your product is not only safer, but more ethical than others on the market. And that is precisely why these global standards exist—so we can truly buy consciously, and do our part to protect our children and the planet we inhabit.
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About the Author: Alice
Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.