All Cotton Comfort clothing is free of this highly toxic product that has been classified as a human carcinogenic by The International Agency for research on Cancer (IARC)
What is formaldehyde?
Formaldehyde (yes – the same substance used to preserve corpses!) is a highly toxic colourless, corrosive, flammable gas with a pungent suffocating odour linked to skin problems, dermatitis, eczema and allergic reactions
It is mainly used in the production of industrial materials such as plywood and fibreboard, glues and adhesives, paper product coatings and certain insulation materials as well as being used for embalming bodies.
It occurs in some household products, beauty products and non organic clothing
Formaldehyde is also released in car emissions, smoke from wood fires and tobacco smoke
Why is formaldehyde used in clothing and household products?
Formaldehyde is used as a coating on fabrics, a chemical dip to give them a finish that can then be sold as 'non-iron' 'anti crease' 'easy care' 'stain resistant''anti cling' anti static' 'anti wrinkle' 'anti-shrink'
It is also used to make clothing waterproof, mildew resistant and colour fast
Many suppliers and clothing chains in the UK use formaldehyde to prevent mildew and creasing (more can be packed into the containers) during shipping from China, Bangladesh etc. This can be hugely cost saving for wholesalers and retailers with devastating effects on our health.
Small quantities can be found in cleaning products as well as lotions, shampoo, sunblock, soap bars, cosmetics, body wash, toothpaste, baby wipes and bubble bath –
Check labels on products like baby bath & shampoos for these common formaldehyde-releasing agents
- DMDM hydantoin
- diazolidinyl urea
- imidazolidinyl urea
Only Sweden and Japan ban formaldehyde from cosmetics and toiletries
If you have sensitive skin, prone to allergies and eczema always read the list of ingredients and always buy Organic
Eczema and other allergies
Frequent or prolonged exposure to formaldehyde in products and clothing can cause hypersensitivity, leading to the development of allergic contact dermatitis. Sweat or sebum appears to leach free formaldehyde from formaldehyde resins.
Tests have shown that even after washing the fabric there was no significant reduction in the degree of formaldehyde found in the clothing – it cannot be washed out.
Formaldehyde gas is released with heat so be aware that nightwear and bedding will respond to body heat and give off gas overnight having an adverse effect on anyone prone to asthma or chest problems as well as affecting areas of eczema
Regulation and labelling
Alarmingly there is no regulation in the UK to control the chemical finishes, formaldehyde and azo dyes used on our clothing on imported goods and no known research into chemical use in clothing in the UK since 2007
Clothing produced in the UK is subject to some controls as the European Union limits formaldehyde residues in children's clothes to a maximum of 30ppm
International research supported by the World Health Organisation shows exposure to formaldehyde in concentrations of 20 parts per million (ppm) can cause eye, skin and nasal irritations, respiratory problems, asthma and cancer
Tests in New Zealand on cotton baby clothes imported from China found formaldehyde levels at a shocking 500 times higher than the safety limit
Chemical finishes are not required to be declared on the label
Choosing Certified Organic Cotton is the only safe way to ensure that unregulated toxins are not having an adverse effect on you and your family
We are what we wear
Cotton Comfort Top tips
/ Buy clothing made from Certified organic Cotton
/ Avoid all chemical finishes and easy care clothing
/ Always buy Organic household and care products