Examples of voluntary formaldehyde labeling programs
for textile and apparel products

The following information is from the GAO Report to the Congressional Committees: Formaldehyde in Textiles (GAO-10-875), dated August 2010.

Table 4 of the GAO report (see below) lists examples of voluntary labeling programs used in various markets around the world. The formaldehyde limits in the table are those applicable to clothing and other textiles that come into direct contact with the skin.

*The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has equivalent tests: ISO 14184-1 Textiles—Determination of Formaldehyde—Part 1: Free and Hydrolyzed Formaldehyde (Water Extraction Method), which is equivalent to the Japanese test; and ISO 14184-2 Textiles—Determination of Formaldehyde—Part 2: Released Formaldehyde (Vapour Absorption Method), which is equivalent to the AATCC test.

Some countries, including the U.S., do not limit formaldehyde levels in clothing, but require disclosure in labels if formaldehyde levels exceed specified amounts. Further, some countries and private entities offer “eco labels” for clothing and other textiles, if formaldehyde levels (and levels of other chemicals) are within specified ranges. Retailers in various markets may have internal corporate limits on formaldehyde in clothing and textiles.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association publishes a Restricted Substance List (RSL) that provides information related to regulations and laws that restrict or ban certain chemicals and substances in finished home textile, apparel, and footwear products around the world. The Restricted Substance List identifies Austria, China, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, and South Korea as countries that regulate formaldehyde in apparel, home textiles, and footwear products.