Assessment of Toxicity of Textile Dyes and Chemicals via Materials Safety Data Sheets

Author(s): Diana Starovoitova and Daniel Odido

The textile industry has been condemned as being one of the world’s worst offenders in terms of pollution. Chemical companies market a vast range of products such as dye formulations, colorants and finishing chemicals to the textile industry. This study was carried out in a textile mill. The research revealed that twenty two dyes and twenty five chemicals were used in the mill during twelve month period of the study. Thirty six Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) were collected from manufacturing companies/sup- pliers. Analysis of MSDSs together with the information provided on re- quest by International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC), France iden- tified that various chemical substances used in the mill were harmful/toxic, carcinogenic, probably carcinogenic, and water polluting. Furthermore, it was identified that two out of three compounds classified as carcinogenic to humans were used in the mill either as chrome/metal/complex dye itself or as its mordants. It was therefore recommended to substitute chromium by hydrogen peroxide fixation. In addition, numerous problems with MSDSs and in occupational and safety practices on handling chemical substances in the mill were documented. The study consequently made several spe- cific recommendations towards improvements.

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