Low levels of formaldehyde in clothing unlikely to pose health risk

Sep 08, 2010

The formaldehyde added to fabrics to keep clothing looking fresh and wrinkle-free is unlikely to pose a health risk to consumers, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Correspondent David J. Hanson notes that manufacturers have added to fabrics for almost a hundred years to make fabrics easier to care for, particularly to reduce wrinkling in cotton and prevent stains. But concern has emerged over formaldehyde's potential for causing allergic reactions such as skin rashes in some people. Formaldehyde also is a potential human carcinogen.

The article describes a new analysis of formaldehyde levels in and the potential health risks. The analysis found that formaldehyde levels in clothing have fallen significantly over the past 25 years. In 1984, for instance, 67 percent of fabrics tested in government studies had levels greater than 100 parts per million, a level the textile industry considers high. But since 2003, less than two percent of items tested showed such high levels and most clothing items had nondetectable levels, the article says, noting that the health risk from formaldehyde is likely very small.

Explore further: Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

More information: "Formaldehyde in Clothing". This story is available at pubs.acs.org/cen/government/88/8836gov2.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chemical exposure may increase risk of ALS

Apr 16, 2008

Preliminary results show that a common environmental chemical may increase the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, according to research that will be presented at ...

Recommended for you

The origins of handedness in life

9 hours ago

Handedness is a complicated business. To simply say life is left-handed doesn't even begin to capture the blooming hierarchy of binary refinements it continues to evolve. Over the years there have been numerous ...

Have our bodies held the key to new antibiotics all along?

13 hours ago

As the threat of antibiotic resistance grows, scientists are turning to the human body and the trillion or so bacteria that have colonized us—collectively called our microbiota—for new clues to fighting microbial infections. ...

Characterizing an important reactive intermediate

18 hours ago

An international group of researchers led by Dr. Warren E. Piers (University of Calgary) and Dr. Heikki M. Tuononen (University of Jyväskylä) has been able to isolate and characterize an important chemical ...

Surfaces that communicate in bio-chemical Braille

18 hours ago

A Braille-like method that enables medical implants to communicate with a patient's cells could help reduce biomedical and prosthetic device failure rates, according to University of Sydney researchers.

User comments : 0