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: New screening, detection and extraction methods for priority contaminants in seafood

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

Scientists find clues to cancer drug failure

16 minutes ago

Cancer patients fear the possibility that one day their cells might start rendering many different chemotherapy regimens ineffective. This phenomenon, called multidrug resistance, leads to tumors that defy ...

Smart crystallization

5 hours ago

A novel nucleating agent that builds on the concept of molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) could allow crystallographers access to proteins and other biological macromolecules that are usually reluctant ...

Supersonic electrons could produce future solar fuel

5 hours ago

Researchers from institutions including Lund University have taken a step closer to producing solar fuel using artificial photosynthesis. In a new study, they have successfully tracked the electrons' rapid transit through ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.