Chemicals used in textiles; source material from O Ecotextiles.

Formaldehyde is used often in finishing textiles to give the fabrics easy care properties (like wrinkle resistance, anti cling, stain resistance, etc.). 
Formaldehyde is a listed human carcinogen. A study by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found a link in textile workers between length of exposure to formaldehyde and leukemia deaths.

Dioxins: Main uses of dioxin in relation to textiles are as a preservative for fibers during sea transit. It is also found in some dyestuff. Dioxin is known as one of the strongest poisons which man is able to produce. Studies have found dioxins are transferred from textiles to human skin during wearing. They were also present in shower water and were washed out of textiles during washing

Perfluorocarbons (PFC’s)  break down within the body and in the environment to PFOA, PFOS and similar chemicals. They are the most persistent synthetic chemicals known to man. Once they are in the body, it takes decades to get them out – assuming you are exposed to no more. They are toxic in humans with health effects from increased cholesterol to stroke and cancer. A growing number of researchers believe that fabric-based, stain-resistant coatings, which are ubiquitous, may be the largest environmental source of this controversial chemical family of PFCs.
PFC’s are used in stain resistant finishes/fabrics such as GoreTex, Teflon

Chemicals used in textile processing which are associated with the immune system include formaldehyde, benzene's, toluene, phthalates. In 2007, The National Institutes of Health and the University of Washington released the findings of a 14 year study that demonstrates those who work with textiles were significantly more likely to die from an autoimmune disease than people who didn't 

Chemicals commonly used in textiles which contribute to developmental disorders (such as (ADD, ADHA, autism, Dyslexia): Bisphenol A, flame retardants, heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium), phthalates, PCB’s:
Bisphenol A – used as a finish in the production of synthetic fibers: It mimics estrogen (is an endocrine disruptor) and can cause infertility and cancer.
PCB’s used in flame retardants on fabrics; they are neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and carcinogenic

Cancer – chemicals used in textile processing which are linked to cancer include formaldehyde, lead, cadmium, benzene as well as pesticides on crops: 

Lead – used in the textile industry in a variety of ways and as a component in dyestuff - is a neurotoxin – it affects the human brain and cognitive development, as well as the reproductive system. Some of the kinds of neurological damage caused by lead are not reversible. Children are uniquely susceptible to lead exposure.
Lead is used in the textile industry in a variety of ways and under a variety of names:
1. Lead acetate:                        dyeing of textiles
2. Lead  chloride                      preparation of lead salts
3. Lead molybdate                   pigments used in dyestuffs
4. Lead nitrate                         mordant in dyeing; oxidizer in dyeing
Lead is a uniquely cumulative poison.

Golf Refugees are calling for apparel brands to voluntarily provide a list of the chemicals used to their consumers. For example sportswear brands could post their 'restricted substance list' on their web sites. Please feel free to ask your favorite apparel brands what chemicals they use.

Golf Refugees are also asking the regulators to ban the use of lead in children's apparel.

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