A few days ago, an acquaintance had an allergic reaction to a new item of clothing.
She had a blood rash in her armpits. She had just bought a T-shirt she wanted to wear to an event, and didn't take the time to wash it.
Even if you really want to wear a new garment, as children often do, without washing it first, it's not a good idea because it can be a source of allergy.
New, unwashed clothes can cause irritant dermatitis, with patches and redness. What's more, depending on skin type, chemical molecule type and concentration, some individuals may develop allergic dermatitis. This can even lead to eczema and burns.But how can a fabric attack the skin and be allergenic?
It's true that some people can have allergies directly associated with the fiber. This is the case with wool, for example. However, this is by no means the main source of reactions. It's more a question of the chemicals used to make the fabric.
In the textile field, a primer is a finishing treatment that gives a textile the desired final appearance. To make it shinier, for example. This means modifying textile fibers through chemical action. Unwashed garments are likely to contain traces of these substances.
Depending on the molecules used, dyes can also cause allergenic reactions. The major fabric manufacturing countries have few or no regulations associated with dye toxicity, and when they do, they have no measures in place to enforce them. Azo dyes, for example, are highly toxic, and although they are banned in China, they are widely used there.
Of course, when we buy clothes in busy stores, it's highly likely that they've been tried on by others before us. As a result, they may carry certain communicable diseases such as influenza and meningitis.
What about cancer?
It's likely that the chemicals found in our clothing are a potential source of cancer, especially skin cancer. However, there are no scientific studies to date that demonstrate with certainty that clothing toxicity is associated with cancer.
What can you do to avoid the risks?
You may be thinking that the first thing you should do is wash your new clothes before wearing them? You'd be wrong.
The first thing to do is to choose clothes that have been dyed here, according to Canadian regulations.
We can also make sure that the garment we've purchased carries an OEKO-TEX® certification. This certification ensures that the garment is free of chemicals.
Next, you should actually wash your clothes at least once before wearing them. We even recommend a second rinse to maximize your chances of eliminating unwanted products.