Phthalate Esters and Amines from Azo Dyes

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:01 PM

Phthalate Esters

Phthalate esters, also known as Phthalates are found in many printed clothing items. Phthalates are used in PVC, inks, adhesives, sealants, and surface coatings.
According to a study conducted by Greenpeace, phthalates are known to have negative effects on the Kidneys and Liver. They are also known to have effects on reproductive organs and reproductive development, similar to NPEs. Regulation is lacking on phthalates. Only the EU has placed any regulation on some phthalates.
In the study, phthalates were found in garments from Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria’s Secret, and Armani. The Phthalates that were found, known to have negative effects, are di-2-ethexyl phthalate (DEHP), diisonoyl phthalate(DINP), and benzyl butyl phthalate. Other phthalates known to have negative effects are diisodecyl phthalate.


Amines from Azo Dyes

In a study conducted by Greenpeace, amines from azo dyes were found in garments made for Zara, sold in Lebanon and Hungary.
Some amines are known to be carcinogenic. The amine found in the garments from Zara is o-dianisidine(3,3’-dimethoxybenzidine). This amine is known to be carcinogenic. It is related to bladder cancer. There are some EU, US, China, and international regulations on Amines.


Avoiding These Harmful Chemicals

It would be a good idea to avoid these chemicals to avoid their harmful effects. Because these toxins are known to be carcinogens and have negative effects on reproductive development, it should be important to make sure that they are not in clothing. While there are some regulations on some phthalates and amines in clothing, they are not comprehensive to all of the toxins known to be harmful in those groups. More studies of these toxins are required to prove their harmfulness in order to pass regulation on them.
On a personal level, individuals can avoid these toxins by wearing natural and organic toxin free clothing. There are several brands of these kind of clothing. Thrifting is also an affordable and sustainable way to find good pieces made with natural fibers. Because phthalates are used in the clothing with printed art on them like tee shirts, printed tee shirts, from brands known to use, them can be avoided. Because these chemicals are not marked on clothing labels, it really requires regulation to be sure that they are not present in clothing.

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