The carding, spinning, dyeing and finishing of textiles can result in toxic chemicals being deposited into soil and groundwater. They can pose a grave health hazard to workers and environments.
Chemicals in textile products can also pose a health hazard for the end-user.
Textile finishing processes such as sandblasting (which gives a vintage worn appearance to denim) can be harmful to workers. Recent years has seen sandblasting stopped in some companies.
Dyeing textiles has led to serious pollution of waterways. Emerging technologies such as waterless dyeing are hopeful signs towards changing practices.
Regulation of chemicals in textiles is important and different countries have different levels of regulation. In the EU, chemicals in textiles are regulated by REACH legislation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances). Australia has further to go in this regard.
What are the impacts of the chosen textile finish?How is it dyed?
How is the fabric dyed?
What chemicals were used in its production?
What finishing processes were used?
Do you know its origin and the conditions in which it was made?
Does the textile comply with international standards?