Is your clothing putting your health at risk due to toxic formaldehyde? Wrinkle-free and iron-free shirts have forever changed the laundry game, but their conveniences come with a price. Many of these shirts contain formaldehyde, a dangerous chemical that has been linked to cancer, asthma, and allergies.
It’s more common than you might think. A recent study revealed that 5.5% of 180 items tested higher than the strictest allowance for formaldehyde. Many people experience skin irritation and airborne symptoms when in direct contact with formaldehyde-containing clothing – and the long-term side effects of formaldehyde exposure are still anyone’s guess.
Formaldehyde in Clothing?
Wrinkle-free and iron-free clothing are the magical by-product of a resin that the clothing is dipped in to keep threads looking clean and pressed. This resin releases formaldehyde, which has been shown in studies to irritate the skin when used on clothing.
To make matters worse, the U.S. does not regulate the levels of formaldehyde in clothing (most of which is made overseas). In addition, the government does not require manufacturers to disclose the chemicals they use on labels, which means you could be putting your health at risk without ever realizing it.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
You don’t have to skip the convenience of wrinkle-free altogether. The good news is that there are now formaldehyde-free clothing options that offer wrinkle-resistant properties. Still, do your health a favor: check your closet to see if you have iron-free or wrinkle-free shirts, then do a little research into the brand to see if they use formaldehyde in their clothing.
It’s a good idea to wash all new clothing prior to wearing it. This can help remove the majority of formaldehyde before it contacts your skin. Also, smell your clothing prior to purchasing. If it has a strong chemical smell, leave it on the rack.
If you have multiple wrinkle-free shirts, test your indoor air quality to see if the chemical exists in the air. Formaldehyde can pose health risks with prolonged exposure, including respiratory issues, nausea, and cancer.
Contact our environmental testing experts today to schedule your consultation and gain peace of mind with every breath you take.