Formaldehyde In Your Clothing Could Be Making You Sick
Wrinkle-free clothing is convenient, but it could be putting your health at risk. You wouldn’t know it from reading the label, but wrinkle free clothing has been treated with formaldehyde. You probably associate formaldehyde with embalming fluid and particleboard. It can have some pretty nasty health consequences.
It’s not just your clothing that may have been treated with formaldehyde. It is commonly added to curtains, drapes, the upholstery on your sofa and the sheets on your bed. Formaldehyde exposure comes from many sources, particularly for women because it’s found in a lot of cosmetics and toiletries.
It’s impossible to know exactly where formaldehyde is present. According to David Andrews, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group, “From a consumer perspective, you are very much in the dark in terms of what clothing is treated with. 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.” The problem is most clothing is manufactured in countries that don’t have strict standards when it comes to health and safety.
Some people are allergic to formaldehyde and wearing clothing that has been treated can cause dermatitis. Individuals who already suffer with eczema or dermatitis can be aggravated by formaldehyde. Allergy sufferers often blame their laundry detergent, but it’s important to consider that your clothes might actually be the culprit. High humidity and sweating can increase the amount of formaldehyde released from the clothing.
Allergy aside, formaldehyde exposure may also raise the risk of cancer. That’s why it’s a good idea to wash new clothes before wearing them. You won’t remove all chemical residues, but you can reduce your exposure.