Shirt, jacket, pants, dress, and almost everything that we wear are made of textiles. Textiles are the main role whether clothing are comfortable or not. It’s all depends on the characteristic of fiber that the producers used. But, there are other factors that conclude whether a clothes is good or not.
As you read the tittle on this article, maybe some of you would think like, chemicals? Hazardous, banned chemicals in my lovely shirt? But, we need to remember that chemicals are everywhere, in everything you touch, perhaps.
Let’s think for a moment. In buying clothes, what are you looking for? Especially for the very first time, what will you seek for? Types of clothes? Sure, you’ll buy what you need first. But in choosing which one to pick or try on, don’t you look at its color and style beside its material? That can be the Most Dangerous Chemicals in The World
Colorful clothes attract people more, hence adding aesthetic points on clothing products. Producers surely need chemicals in order to create those wonderful color on your clothes, which are dyes or pigments as colorants. Textile colorants are okay to use, but there are few of them which are banned due to the dangers they cause. So do the other chemicals in textile such as fiber, biocides, flame retardants, water repellents, and so on.
Types of Fiber
Fibers are classified in two types, natural fiber and synthetic fiber.
- Natural Fiber
Natural resources are the main materials to make natural fibers. Whether it is from animals, minerals or plants. Natural fiber will make clothing less toxic for our body, because it didn’t contain of chemicals in it. Although it didn’t contain of chemicals, but natural clothing are more durable, sustainable, and comfortable.
- Synthetic Fiber
Synthetic fiber or we can say as plastic fiber is a material to make clothing. The most common synthetic fibers are polyester, rayon, spandex, nylon and much more.
Chemicals in Textiles
Before basic material turned into clothing, there must be a lot processes in it. Start from basic material, then it turns into fibers, then fibers transforms into fabrics, then fabrics will produced clothing. In making synthetic fiber, there is a process that what is called as wet processing. So wet processing is a process to apply chemicals liquid to a fabrics.
Formaldehyde or commonly known as formalin is a colorless, flammable and strong odor chemicals. It is the simplest among other aldehydes with CH2O formula, it can leads to a lot of health issues, such as skin irritation, eyes irritation, and even cancer. Textile industry, automobile industry, and plywood furniture industry, usually using it for industrial purpose. In textile industry, people used formaldehyde to prevent fabric to crease or we can say it plays as crease-resistant. Also read: List of Chemicals Used in Dyeing Industry
Phthalates are making plastic more durable but flexible at the same time. This plasticizer commonly used in plastic-ware products, such as plastic clothes, vinyl flooring, personal care product packaging, household items, children’s toys etc.
- Dichloromethane (DCM)
Dichloromethane (DCM) is least toxic beside the other clorohydrocarbons. But there are no chemicals that will not give side effects, include dichloromethane (DCM), it may less-harm but if it is heated, it still could absorbed into our skin or inhaled and cause dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, and difficulty concentration. In textile industry, dichloromethane (DCM) used for garment printing. Also read: List of Banned Chemicals
- Pentachlorophenol (PCP)
Pentachlorophenol (PCP) usually found in pesticide, fungicide, or insecticides. Although it is highly toxic, textiles or fabric industry still using it to make clothing. In fabric industry, Pentachlorophenol (PCP) used for finishing, to prevent fungal growth.
- Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
The industry has used perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) for their non-stick and water-resistant properties, in order to make textile products breathable, water & stain proof. Yet unfortunately, PFCs result in many health problems such as, affect the liver and growth and reproductive hormones, higher cholesterol, reduced immune response, and kidney and testicular cancer. If it contaminated the environment, like the water, it will cause exposure, then result in health problems as mentioned above.
As for colourants, there are two major chemistries, azo and anthraquinone. Colourants based on azo chemistry “-N=N-” group. On specific conditions, azo colourants can lead to a cleavage of the “-N=N-” azo bond to form “–NH2” group or an amine. Until now, there are 24 carcinogenic amines which are banned in textile and leather, such as ;
This chemicals has a grayish-red, yellowish, or white color. It is very toxic and has a crystalline aromatic amine. Benzidine has been used for manufacture of dyes. But in 2010, the EPA’s put it on the List of Chemicals of Concern, as well as in Group A (human carcinogens). There’s a strong relation between exposure to benzidine and risk of bladder and pancreatic cancer in humans.
Not just for human, animals got various tumor types from exposure. Health hazards from benzidine occurs by exposure, such as ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption. Ingestion of benzidine causes cyanosis, headache, confusion, and vomiting.
To aquatic life, it gives long lasting effect on the environment. Benzidine is also combustible, when in a fire, it produce irritating, toxic fumes. When it is absorb to the skin, it might results in dermatitis, irritation, or sensitization.
Alkylphenols common uses in textile for dyeing and cleaning processes. Indeed, the use of Alkylphenolscan cause bad for health such as disrupt sexual development. Indeed, that’s one of many list of banned chemicals in textiles.
3. Brominated and Chlorinated Flame Retardants
Brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (BFRs) commonly uses in textiles that can cause bad for health such as hormone systems and effect sexual development. This compound is banned in Europe.
4. Azo dyes
Azo dyes commonly uses for dyes color in textile. Meanwhile, the use of this chemicals compounds can cause bad such cancer and bad when it contacts to skin
5. Organotin compounds
Organotin compounds is antifungal agents that use in many industries. Indeed, they use Organotin compounds in socks, shoes, and sports products such as sport shoes and t-shirts. Meanwhile, Organotin compounds is restricted in Europe. As a result, Organotin compounds affects immune and reproductive systems.
6. Perfluorinated chemicals
Perfluorinated chemicals common uses for leather prosudts and water proof textiles. The use of this compound can effect bad to human health and the environment. That is why, Perfluorinated chemicals is banned in Europe.
Indeed, here are more list of banned chemicals in textiles:
|Banned Substance in Products|
|S. No.||Substance||CAS No.|
In everyday life, we have to be in contact with a lot of chemicals, be it in our food, in our clothes, or even in the air. There are a lot of chemicals which are List of Chemicals and Hazardous materials Banned and Restricted in UAE, or maybe pesticides banned in India, and Harmful List Of Banned Food Additives In Many Countries We should never ignore those precautions provided for us, in order to keep us save, healthy, happy, and manage to use the chemicals around us wisely, since overexposure to hazards chemicals can lead to many signs of health problems by overexposure.