Requirements on textiles
Textile products include:
- babies’ nappies
- clothing, such as shirts, trousers, headwear and gloves.
The most typical safety issues in textiles are related to chemicals, cords and drawstrings in children’s clothing, small parts that may come off and pose a choking hazard, such as decorations, as well as insufficient labelling.
Safety requirements on textiles
Textiles must fulfil the general safety requirements of the Consumer Safety Act: they must not pose a danger to the health or property of consumers. In addition, there is detailed legislation concerning the chemicals contained in textiles.
- The maximum permitted amount of formaldehyde depends of the textile’s purpose of use and the age of the user.
- Azo dyes may release certain aromatic amines; therefore, their use in textile and leather products that remain in prolonged contact with the skin or the mouth has been restricted.
- Uncoated buttons and press studs that contain nickel must not be attached to clothing for sale. The amount of nickel released from coated buttons and press studs has also been restricted.
- The use of certain phthalates in all toys and childcare products has been restricted. In addition, the use of certain phthalates is restricted concerning childcare products and toys that a child might put in their mouth.
Excluding formaldehyde, the chemicals in textiles are provided for in the REACH and CLP Regulations; more information about these regulations is available via Tukes’s Helpdesk ().
In addition to legislation, European standards have been developed for certain textiles. The relevant standards concerning textiles include:
- SFS-EN 14682 Safety of children's clothing. Cords and drawstrings on children's clothing. Specifications
- SFS-EN 71-3 Safety of toys. Part 3: Migration of certain elements; for example, fancy dress made out of fabric, tents, soft toys.
In addition, standards have been developed and are being developed for products for the sleeping environment, children’s nightwear, furniture fabrics, terry towels and fabrics, as well as the UV protection characteristics of textiles, among other things.
More information about cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing can be found on the page concerning the topic. Manufacturers, importers and sellers of children’s clothing should also familiarise themselves with the technical report CEN/TR 16792, which provides instructions and recommendations for safe children’s clothing.
Textiles must have the necessary information for the safe use of the product throughout its whole service life. The information must be placed so that it can be found easily. Textile products sold to consumers must include:
- the name of the product in accordance with commercial practice, if it is not clearly visible without opening the package
- information about the manufacturer, the manufacturer’s authorised representative, or the importer
- the care instructions of the product either as symbols or verbally, such as water washing, bleaching, tumble drying, ironing and dry cleaning
- fibre content in the order of percentages.
The care instruction symbols must be woven or printed on a fabric label or directly on the clothing. If this is not possible, the markings can be included on a separate tie-on label attached to the packaging or the product. In that case, the labelling must include instructions on keeping the label. More information about the labelling of textiles can be found in related standards, as well as on the Finnish Textile and Fashion organisation’s website.
The Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on textile fibre names and related labelling and marking of the fibre composition of textile products is monitored by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA).
The safety of textiles is important, because they are often in prolonged contact with the skin, and they are also used by especially sensitive groups such as babies and children.