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Old 08-23-2007, 05:08 AM   #1
Susan P.
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Formaldehyde in Chinese Clothing
Report here tonight stemmed from an NZ investigation into formaldehyde levels in Chinese clothing. The NZ team took a spiderman kids shirt, kids pj's, a woman's pair of pants and a men's pair of wrinkle resistant pants and tested them. The safe level for F is around 20 parts per million and one of the items had 16,000!!

This chemical can cause severe rashes and swelling and so on and many of you have discussed this and wondered why you can't find the cause. Perhaps this may be it.

The deficiency in the report was explaining why the chemical is used to begin with and whether repeated washing will remove it. Most people have 80% or more of their clothing made in China so if you or your kids have been having rashes you may want to see whether a change of brands and country manufacture may change the issue. The trouble is of course SO MUCH is made in China now. I know stores..many.where that is all that is available.

Perhaps people can recommend US, UK and Aus made lines etc?
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:01 AM   #2
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On a side note, my husband has been complaining about Chinese junk for a long time. He works in the auto aftermarket parts industry and has complained for years that China will knock off a product that has already been made and is successful, use inferior materials and then sell it super cheap because that's what people want. People think it's the same thing as the original and complain the original is too expensive. Then people gripe when it breaks. Just now the US is realizing this. Just this week more Chinese made dog treats were recalled from WalMart because of Melamine. I for one take a good look now at the stuff I buy. I will never knowingly buy another Chinese made product as long as I live. The US needs to wake up and realize that our well being is being compromised by allowing this to continue.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:03 AM   #3
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interesting- it is nearly impossible to find made in the USA clothes these days.... which is a shame. I wonder if it is part of the dying/sizing process for the fabric before sewing? We usually wash everything before we wear it the first time.

I think some of the "boutique" lines of kids clothes are made in the usa, but unfortunately the prices are ridiculous for clothes that will be covered in paint, marker and dirt. (my little one dives right into everything at school. you just have to look at her clothes to see what they did that day.)
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:35 AM   #4
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Stitchwitch...Since I heard about most aquaculture practices in Asia (basically filthy water used), I refuse to buy frozen prawns from there and I agree re the equipment and tools. I know people who've bought a whole wrench set thinking they got a bargain and the tools have cracked and broken really quickly. Someone bought me cheap secateurs and they warped on the first cut. I heard about the dog treats..terrible.

MaryKZ.. This concerns me also. 'Bonds' was a very well known Australian brand and I think nowadays the items are made offshore (tho I would need to check). I guess I could have googled the info re the formaldehyde but I'm back writing for a kid's show and I can only do so much research in a day! I agree that onshore items are bizarre in terms of pricing. Our governments' needs to return to some industry subsidy I think and change some welfare laws to allow those on welfare to work more casual hours than they can.

I DO want to point out that my comments are in no way directed at individual Chinese people - but to corporate Chinese governance and our own govts not carefully looking in to what products overseas countries are selling to us. That latter comment applies across the board. Perhaps it's the case that overseas exporters need to pay a fee for one of our research companies to thoroughly investigate product and to conduct regular spot checks. I certainly hope our govt's are not subsidising or loaning money to these problematic business even via the international bank! I cannot understand why the Chinese have not been smart enough to realise what the backlash was going to be sooner or later.

Perhaps MaryKZ we need to return to home sewing machines and simple patterns - at least for basic kid's clothing.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Susan P. View Post
Perhaps MaryKZ we need to return to home sewing machines and simple patterns - at least for basic kid's clothing.
The same chemicals are in the fabrics you buy. That is one of the reasons washing fabric before you cut and sew is suggested. It used to be to shrink the fabric fully, but it's rare now that fabric needs to be pre-shrunk.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:45 AM   #6
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Yarnlady..do you have a site reference that tells what range of chemicals are in fabrics? So the Form. is used to prevent shrinkage..hmmmm
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:48 AM   #7
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Well..is this a case of a little knowledge is a dangerous thing as a very quick simple search located this immediately..

http://www.asehaqld.org.au/Chemical%...n_clothing.htm

So this appears to be a fabric industry standard..??

Any other sources? I'm going to contact the TV show about this as they should be following up..but I want to know whether washing gets rid of it. I always wash after buying and before wearing...no matter what the item.
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Old 08-23-2007, 09:56 AM   #8
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I just emailed the show and suggested fabrics from a couple of well known stores were also tested. This suggests washing is very important before you wear clothes. I just assumed everyone would wash clothes before wearing..does anyone here just put them on?:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/art...hey_could.html
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:00 AM   #9
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Just realised that first link suggests washing only helps a little bit.

Gosh, haven't we, as a society, traded off so much of our health for the sake of issues like 'wrinkle free' and so on. Without knowing it as consumers in the main, we have threatened our well being for such superficial issues. Sad really..
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Old 08-23-2007, 10:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Susan P. View Post
Yarnlady..do you have a site reference that tells what range of chemicals are in fabrics? So the Form. is used to prevent shrinkage..hmmmm
No, the pre-washing is/was used to prevent shrinkage. Not the formaldehyde.

ETA: There are chemicals in nearly everything we buy these days. While it may be concerning, it shouldn't cause a scare--many media reports are aimed at overdramatizing situations that we've been living with all our lives. I'd be interested to see more stats on the safe levels of formaldehyde.
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