HEADLINES Published October24, 2015 By Jerwin Jay Taping

Chemicals Remain In Clothes Long After Manufacturing, Some Even Linger After Washing

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Toxins remain in clothes after the manufacturing process.
(Photo : Matt Cardy | Getty Images News)

People love to shop new clothes but may not be aware of certain health hazards that come with such leisure. Well, as far as the new finding is concern, it may not really be healthy for everybody to keep buying new garments, even if they came from popular clothing lines. The risk is there - thousands of chemicals adhere to clothes after the manufacturing process.

"Exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of allergic dermatitis, but more severe health effect for humans as well as the environment could possibly be related to these chemicals," says researcher Giovanna Luongo, Ph.D. of Stockholm University, as quoted in the press release. "Some of them are suspected or proved carcinogens, and some have aquatic toxicity."

In the research, textiles purchased between 2010 and 2014 from several well-known stores in the Swedish market were analyzed. Garments made of technical fibers or non-textile fiber elements were excluded in sample analysis. The origin of textiles manufacture was 80 percent Asian countries, 15 percent European, and the rest were unknown.

Four kinds of substances were analyzed in the study, all of which were based on chemical's frequency of occurrence, quantity, toxicity and potential for skin penetration. The two chemicals with the highest concentration in polyester were quinolones and aromatic amines. Cotton fabrics were also found to contain high concentrations of benzothiazoles.

Researchers washed the clothes, before and after which, they measured the levels of chemicals and used the data for comparative analysis. Their findings show that some of the hazardous substances were removed after washing, likely ending up to wastewater environments. Some also remained in clothes in high amounts. As to the health risk these chemicals may pose to humans, researchers are yet to discover.

UPI writes that since chemicals used during the manufacturing of products were such a problem for wastewater managers, it may therefore be possible that the final products still have some of these toxic by-products and residues - such a health risk to end-consumers.

"We have only scratched the surface, this something that has to be dealt with," says Analytical Chemistry Professor Conny Ostman. "Clothes are worn day and night during our entire life. We must find out if textile chemicals go into our skin and what it means to our health. It is very difficult to assess and requires considerably more research."

The doctoral thesis has been published online.

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