In the past month, clothing chains Rivers Australia and Just Jeans, and bedding -retailer Pillow Talk have recalled items, including children’s jeans, coloured with ‘azo dyes’. These dyes have a tendency to break down into carcinogenic chemicals. Though not all azo dyes are a problem, many are known to create a risk after prolonged direct contact. While Europe has already banned such imports, the US has put restrictions in place, which could turn Australia into a dumping ground for such hazardous clothing.
The Australian Health ¬Department’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme now wants to ban hazardous azo dyes from sale and it has recommended the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to restrict imports of hazardous dyed clothing and textiles. But no laws or rules have been implemented to restrict their ¬import. ACCC recently tested 199 items in mainstream stores and found four pairs of jeans and a pillowslip affected by the dyes.
As per Australian Cancer Council some azo dyes were identified as strong cancer-causing agent in rats and mice fed and injected with the substance in the 1930s. So it has appreciated the fact that clothes coloured with azo dyes were recalled.