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Stay Ahead of the Curve: Learn Why Fabric Testing Will Help You Comply with Environmental Regulations

Fabric testing can be beneficial to establish environmental compliance. Indeed, ensuring that your textile or fabric products meet regulatory requirements for chemical safety is crucial for protecting the environment and consumer health.

What is Fabric Testing?

Fabric testing involves analyzing textile or fabric samples to determine their chemical composition and ensure they meet environmental regulations. The testing process helps identify potentially harmful substances and ensures safety for use by consumers.


Environmental regulations can require fabric testing to ensure that the chemicals in textiles and fabrics do not threaten human health or the environment.

There are various chemical techniques and molecules to analyze for, including:

  • Heavy metals
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Flame retardants

Environmental Regulations Needing Fabric Testing

Several environmental regulations can utilize fabric testing to ensure compliance with environmental standards. Here are five examples:



The Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation applies to articles manufactured or imported into the European Union (EU) in quantities of one tonne or more per year. Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) are subject to authorization, and companies must communicate information on SVHCs in articles to customers down the supply chain. This can be accomplished using a:

California Proposition 65

Prop. 65

California Proposition 65, officially known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, requires businesses to warn Californians about significant exposures to chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.



The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requires manufacturers and importers of chemicals to report information to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and provides them with the authority to regulate the manufacture, processing, distribution, use, and disposal of chemical substances. Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic (PBT) chemicals are of particular concern. Chemicals that fall under the TSCA-PBT rule include heavy chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.

PFAS Compliance

PFAS Requirements

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals widely used in many industries. PFAS are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in the human body, potentially causing adverse health effects. Some states, such as Maine, Michigan, and New Hampshire, have implemented their regulations for PFAS in textiles and other products. Additionally, there is California AB 1817 Product Safety on Textile Articles, with the following PFAS restrictions:

  • 100ppm total organic fluorine from January 1st, 2025;
  • 50ppm total organic fluorine from January 1st, 2027.
POP Persistent Organic Pollutants

EU POP Halogen-Free

The EU’s Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) Regulation aims to protect humans and the environment from persistent organic pollutants by prohibiting or severely restricting their production, use, and import. This regulation applies to substances that pose concerns due to their persistence, bioaccumulation, and toxic properties.

How to Perform Chemical Testing of Fabrics to Comply with Environmental Regulations

It is highly beneficial to perform chemical testing of fabrics for environmental compliance. Here is a general protocol to accomplish this goal:

Textile Chemical Testing

1. Identify the Specific Regulations that Apply to Your Product

Before starting any testing, know which environmental regulations apply to your product. To accomplish this task, evaluate the material composition to determine which chemicals to test for and the appropriate testing methods. Some common chemicals found in textiles include:


It is used as a preservative and wrinkle-resistant agent. It can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, and even cancer.

Chlorine Bleach

Bleach is used for whitening and disinfecting textiles. It can cause skin irritation and respiratory problems.

Azo Dyes

These dyes color textiles. Some types of azo dyes can break down into carcinogenic compounds.


These substances soften and improve the flexibility of fabrics. Some types of phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors.

Flame Retardants

They are used to make textiles less flammable. Flame retardants can be toxic and accumulate in the environment.


These molecules protect crops from insects and other pests. They can remain in the fibers and cause skin irritation or other health problems.

Molecule Chemistry Enviropass

2. Choose the Appropriate Testing Methods for Fabric Testing

A variety of chemistry testing methods available to analyze fabrics and textiles exist. Some techniques include gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Choose the method best suited for the specific chemicals you are testing for. Additionally, the availability and quantity of a representative product sample are factors to consider.

Solvent and oil testing

3. Conduct the Textile and Fabric Testing

Choose a laboratory that specializes in textile and fabric testing when possible. Moreover, a reliable lab follows ISO 17025 guidelines.

Need a reliable ISO-17025-certified testing laboratory? Contact Enviropass for a free consultation

risk assessment Fabric Testing

4. Interpret the Results

Once the fabric testing is complete, you will obtain a report. Interpret the results in the context of the relevant environmental regulations. If harmful chemicals are above allowable limits, one can change the composition of the material. Alternatively, one can conduct a risk assessment.

SVHCs Certificate of Compliance

5. Generate Certificates of Compliance

Based on the interpretations of the test reports, generate certificates of compliance against the tested environmental regulations.

Specific Testing Methods Used for Fabric Testing

Chemistry testing for environmental compliance involves testing fabrics for hazardous substances that may harm human health and the environment. Here are some compounds to test for and relevant techniques to do so:

Test 1: Presence of PFAS using LC-MS and GC-MS

Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) are two powerful analytical techniques used to detect and quantify the presence of PFAS in fabrics.

  • LC-MS works by separating the different components of a sample based on their chemical properties and then ionizing and detecting them using a mass spectrometer.
  • On the other hand, GC-MS uses gas chromatography to separate the sample components based on their volatility and then ionizes and detects them using a mass spectrometer. Both techniques are highly sensitive and can detect even trace amounts of PFAS in textiles.

Test 2: Detection of Heavy Metals using AAS and ICP-MS

Heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury, can be toxic to humans and the environment. Heavy metal testing involves using techniques such as X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to detect the presence of these substances in fabrics.

  • XRF is a non-destructive method that can detect the presence of heavy metals without damaging the fabric.
  • ICP-MS is a highly sensitive and accurate technique that can detect heavy metals in textiles.
Oil testing laboratory

Test 3: Azo Dyes and Colorfastness using HPLC

Azo dyes are commonly used in textile manufacturing to achieve bright and vibrant colors. However, some azo dyes can break down into carcinogenic aromatic amines, harming human health and the environment. Testing for azo dyes and colorfastness involves using techniques such as High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to detect the presence of these substances and assess the colorfastness of the fabric. This technique separates components of a sample based off their chemical properties.

Test 4: Formaldehyde using GC-MS and HPLC

Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in textile finishing to improve wrinkle resistance and durability. However, it is also a known human carcinogen and can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Testing for formaldehyde is crucial in ensuring that fabrics are safe for human use and do not pose a risk to the environment. Techniques such as GC-MS and HPLC detect the presence of this substance.

Test 5: Pesticides using GS-MS and HPLC

Pesticides are commonly used in textile manufacturing to protect fabrics from pests. However, some pesticides can be harmful to human health and the environment. Testing for pesticides involves using techniques such as GC-MS and HPLC.

Benefits of Fabric Testing for Environmental Compliance

In addition to the benefits of ensuring regulatory compliance, and protecting human health and the environment, fabric testing for environmental compliance can also provide several advantages to companies. Here are some of the benefits of fabric testing for companies:

Benefits of Fabric Testing for Environmental Compliance

Cost Savings

By identifying potential compliance issues before they become a problem, companies can avoid costly product recalls and legal penalties. Additionally, fabric testing can help companies identify areas where they can make production processes more efficient and cost-effective.

Improved Product Quality

Fabric testing can help companies ensure products meet their desired specifications and quality standards. By identifying and addressing quality issues early in production, companies can avoid delays, reduce waste, and improve their bottom line.

Competitive Advantage

In today’s environmentally conscious market, companies that can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility have a competitive advantage. By investing in fabric testing for environmental compliance, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract customers who value environmental responsibility.

Improved Brand Reputation

By ensuring that their products are safe for human use and the environment, companies can enhance their brand reputation and build customer trust. By demonstrating their commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, companies can attract customers who are increasingly conscious of the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment.

Consequences of Not Meeting Regulatory Requirements for Fabric Testing

  1. Legal and Financial Penalties: Failing to meet regulatory requirements for fabric testing can result in legal and financial penalties. Non-compliance with regulations can lead to lawsuits, fines, and other legal penalties.
  2. Health and Safety Risks: Not meeting regulatory requirements for fabric testing can put the health and safety of consumers at risk. Certain fabrics may contain harmful chemicals or have other defects that could lead to serious health problems. 

How Often to Conduct Fabric Testing?

Molecule Enviropass

The frequency of fabric testing depends on various factors, including:

  • The intended use of the textile
  • The applicable regulatory requirements

The environmental conditions in which the textile is used.

Generally, conduct fabric testing regularly, such as quarterly or annually, depending on the specific circumstances. However, when there are changes in environmental regulations or the intended use of the textile changes, more frequent testing may be necessary.


 It is also important to note that fabric testing is not a one-time event. Even if a textile passes initial testing, it is crucial to continue to test it regularly to ensure ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements and quality standards.

Analytical testing of fabric

Contact Enviropass today and learn how our expertise in fabric testing can benefit your business comply with environmental regulations.