Multiple Chemical Sensitivities may result from garment finishes and dyes found in most fabrics. These sensitivities can range from runny nose, itchy eyes, headache, skin rashes, nausea, fatigue, poor concentration, breathing, aching joints and muscles, dizziness, and seizures. symptoms in children include learning disabilities, rashes, and skin irritation, dark circles under the eyes, food intolerance, and hyperactivity. What causes these reactions? Some of the reactions may be a result of garment finishing or the dye fixative used to bond the dye to the fabric.
Conventional dye and dye fixatives often contain heavy metals and may also use toxic chemicals for the dye process. Some of the chemicals found in the dyeing process are dioxin, formaldehyde, azo dyes and heavy metals such as alum, chromium, copper, iron, and tin. Some of these chemicals are carcinogenic or are suspected to be a carcinogen. Not only are these chemicals a health risk but also cause damage to our environment by polluting the water.
As we move forward in the expanding industry of organics, there is a transition both in the manufacturing and marketplace for dyed clothing. There are different options of clothing dyes on the market today for organic clothing such as undyed clothing, clay dyes, natural dyes, and low-impact, fiber reactive dyes.
Obviously some of these dyeing techniques are grey in terms of setting standards for organic clothing, but these are all small steps towards a large movement in the organic industry. As further study and industry advancement take place we are sure to enter into more ecologically safe dyes with a rainbow of colors.
~ Denise Blanchette