December 16, 2010

Wrinkle-Free Clothing Releases Formaldehyde

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Wrinkle-free clothing is popularly promoted by clothing companies, such as Van Heusen Men's Fitted Wrinkle Free Poplin Solid Shirt. The days of ironing are behind us, but at what cost to our health. According to a recent article in the New York Times, it's formaldehyde that makes clothing wrinkle-free.

Most consumers will probably never have a problem with exposure to formaldehyde, though it can have serious health implications for people who work with the chemical in factories. The biggest potential issue for those wearing wrinkle-resistant clothing can be a skin condition called contact dermatitis. It affects a small group of people and can cause itchy skin, rashes and blisters, according to a recent government study on formaldehyde in textiles. Still, some critics said more studies on a wider array of textiles and clothing chemicals were needed, including a closer look at the effects of cumulative exposure. At the very least, they said, better labeling would help.

"From a consumer perspective, you are very much in the dark in terms of what clothing is treated with," said David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, a research and advocacy organization. "In many ways, you're in the hands of the industry and those who are manufacturing our clothing. And we are trusting them to ensure they are using the safest materials and additives."

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at December 16, 2010 12:10 AM

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