Eschborn, Switzerland-New criteria under the Oeko-Tex certification scheme call for laboratory tests for carcinogenic arylamines to be extended to un-dyed polyurethane materials. This is because previous test results have shown the presence of free carcinogenic amines in certain types of PU, according to a 4 April announcement from Oeko-Tex, the Zurich, Switzerland-based International Association for Research and Testing in the Field of Textile Ecology.The group's certification process, focussed on textile manufacturers and users, formed part of the thinking behind the Eco-PUR certification scheme devised by Europur, the European Association of Flexible Foam Blocks Manufacturers.The new criteria, which have applied since the start of the year, call for the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 to become mandatory on 1 April 2007, following the three-month transitional period.Other specific requirements in the new standard include a ban on the dye Disperse Orange 149, because it contains 4-aminoazobenzene, which is legally banned.The rules concerning the use of phthalates have also been tightened. Limit values for the three particularly problematic plasticisers-DEHP, DBP and BBP-have now also been set for textiles worn close to the skin in Product Class II. In 2006, European legislation banned the use of these three substances from all baby toys, regardless of whether they were intended to be put in the mouth or not, Oeko-Tex explained. The new standard also requires the phthalates DINP, DNOP and DIDP to remain within the scope of testing for Product Class I. Special plasticisers which have been scientifically proven to be problematic in long-term use are present at significant levels in very few clothing articles, Oeko-Tex admits. But, the group suggests, extending the ban to Product Class II is a proactive measure that promises manufacturers, retailers and end users greater product safety. In the manufacture of 'slipper socks', for example, phthalates are often used in the textured sole to prevent the wearer from slipping, Oeko-Tex points out. Another area of plasticiser use is in certain textile printing techniques such as plastisol printing, used when making printed T-shirts, the group adds. Under the latest certification procedures for Oeko-Tex Standard 100, production companies must stop using the banned materials immediately, and use substitute products such as those based on silicones. More information on the test criteria and limit values for the Oeko-Tex Standard can be downloaded from www.oeko-tex.com."