Do you love to shop for new clothes? How about buying a new pair of designer jeans? Everyone has excitedly put on their newly purchased shirt or pants after ripping off the tags. However, did you know that you need to wash your new clothes before wearing them? Dangers of formaldehyde exposure in clothing is not something to be taken lightly.
A lot of people are unaware that formaldehyde is commonly used in the production of textiles and fabrics. Manufacturers of designer jeans and wrinkle-free clothing will use formaldehyde to prevent issues during shipping.
It is important to note that this chemical is particularly dangerous for your health. If you do choose to wear your new clothes prior to washing them, you may face serious illness.
What Formaldehyde Can Do to Your Health
Chemical odors from formaldehyde can cause serious illnesses in both children and adults. This chemical is a known human carcinogen which can cause many different reactions in various people. Just a few of the most common side effects can include headaches, rashes, hives, coughing, chest pain, struggling breathing, and much more. When discussing the dangers of formaldehyde exposure in clothing, the list goes on and on.
The presence of such a robust and potent chemical can be severe, even in the lowest levels of exposure. This chemical is so dangerous that Canada has declared it to be toxic, whereas the United States has not yet labeled it as a dangerous toxin. More recently formaldehyde has been linked to nervous system disorders such as ALS, and can be found in more than just clothing.
How to Protect Yourself from Chemical Odors
Now that you know what the dangers of chemical exposure in clothing are, you might be asking yourself why companies still use it? This toxic chemical is meant to help reduce the amount of wrinkling in fabric during the shipping of products.
If you have been exposed to the chemical fumes of formaldehyde, you may experience mild symptoms or skin irritations such as hives.
How Do You Avoid the Adverse Effects of Chemicals?
There are preventive measures you can take to ensure that you are not exposed. Firstly, when buying new garments or bedding, you should wash them immediately and carefully.
Cleaning new fabrics and linens will remove chemical odors from your clothes and can eliminate up to 60% of toxins and chemicals in these textile materials.
If you can, you should avoid products which state that they are wrinkle free, crease free, stain free, and iron free. Formaldehyde is a very common substance used to make these fabrics smooth and keep them from wrinkling. There is a significant possibility that materials you have bought like this in the past, contained high levels of this toxin.
When buying new clothing you should try to sniff it briefly. By smelling it alone, you can distinguish the natural smell from the harsh smell of chemicals. If possible choose organic cotton or clothing materials only. Looking for formaldehyde free clothing brands would be best.
If you continue to use wrinkle-free clothing and linens, make sure you take necessary precautions to prevent illness. Most importantly, you should always remember to wash your new items prior to using them.