It’s no secret that consumers are demanding products that are safer and healthier for themselves and their families. But many brands are capitalizing on this by making health claims that are scientifically unfounded. This is the reason why independent third-party standards organisation have developed certification labels.
As an engaged member of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), Allergy Standards works hand in hand with their team to raise awareness around the importance of healthier textiles and look forward to working further with the organisation to advance the research on textiles and health.
Here, Allergy Standards’ Digital Marketing Manager, Léa Daulan, interviews leaders, brand managers, and marketers who are part of a global movement towards healthier products that are rooted in rigorous science. In this interview, meet Diana Wyman, AATCC‘s Executive Vice President, a multinational corporation specialising in the production of floor and wall coverings.
Léa Daulan: The AATCC includes some of the top global textile companies as members such as the Ralph Lauren Corporation. If we now look at the manufacturing side of things, what insights does the AATCC have on the concerns that textiles manufacturers have when they produce textiles and what are the main trends on the market?
Diana Wyman: There are some basic issues that manufacturers must always consider to ensure products are legal and safe. They also need to produce products that meet consumer needs. Increasingly, this means performance and sustainability features. Verifying performance and sustainability claims is where AATCC gets involved.
To make a meaningful statement about performance, the product should be tested using a standardized test method. Standardized tests are developed and recognized by a wide range of industry stakeholders, so they are fair and available to all. They enable “apples to apples” comparisons.
A few of the topics AATCC committees are currently addressing include e-textiles, microplastics, and thermal regulation.
Léa: Thanks so much. We agree that standardized testing methods are important. At Allergy Standards we test textiles for VOC emissions, allergen barrier, and overall product quality for their eligibility to join the asthma & allergy friendly®Certification program.
We work with textiles manufacturers, such as Welspun, Keeco, and Hollander, who are keen to produce better and healthier textiles for their customers. They made the choice to work with an independent third-party certification such as ours. Have textile manufacturers come to you looking for recommendation to test and certify their products?
Diana: AATCC does get inquiries about testing and certification. The association offers numerous tools and resources to learn about proper test selection, execution, and interpretation. An interesting fact about AATCC is that the association never assigns pass/fail criteria to any test. This is up to the individual buyers and sellers—or certifying bodies. AATCC test methods DO form the basis of many certifications and specifications in the textile and related industries. For example, you may perform an AATCC test to determine how much formaldehyde is in a textile. AATCC won’t tell you if your results are “good” or “bad,” but you can compare the numeric result to a restricted substance list or customer specification to determine if the textile is suitable for a particular end use.
Léa: Thank you, Diana. As a certification body, we set limits for chemicals such as formaldehyde, and test against those levels to qualify textile products for certification. What are the AATCC plans for the future to keep helping manufacturers to produce eco-friendly, sustainable, and healthy textiles?
Diana: Sustainability is always an important component of AATCC conferences, publications, and other educational materials.
AATCC is currently working with partners from around the world to develop a test method to quantify fiber fragment (sometimes called “microfibers”) shedding in laundering. This will help the industry reduce the amount of plastic and other materials released into waterways.
One of the newest AATCC test methods is AATCC TM206 which provides a new option for measuring the amount of formaldehyde present in a textile. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen regulated in many countries, particularly in children’s products.
Understanding which materials contain high levels of formaldehyde enables sourcing teams to make safer choices about what they use in their products.
Léa: Sustainability is definitely a hot topic and important to many consumers and manufacturers as well as retailers. Thank you for your insights into the AATCC’s work and priorities.
Founded as the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC), the Association continues to evolve to meet the needs of those in the ever-changing textile, apparel, and materials industries. AATCC has served textile professionals since 1921. Today, the Association provides test method development, quality control materials, education, and professional networking for a global audience. Click here to visit website
About Allergy Standards
Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) mantra is design thinking and an innovation for healthier indoor air for the allergy aware consumer. As an independent, international certification company, it creates meaningful scientific standards for testing a wide range of products and services to determine their impact on improving indoor air quality. ASL’s intellectual property portfolio includes unique testing protocols and suitability specifications for products to be CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® . ASL’s mission is to improves lives by empowering people create the healthiest possible indoor environment through science, education and innovation.
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