The fashion industry is known to be one of the most polluting in the world, with negative effects on human health and the environment. One of the most problematic aspects is the fabric dyeing process, which uses a large amount of toxic and harmful chemicals.
However, recent research published in Scientific Reports has revealed further evidence that industrial dyes are harmful to human health and the environment.
The study examined the dyeing process of cotton, wool and polyester fabrics with the use of azo dyes, a class of chemicals widely used in the textile industry. The study authors found that the azo-dyeing process produced a large amount of toxic waste, which was discharged into the surrounding environment. This waste contained chemicals such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde, which are known to be carcinogenic and harmful to human health.
Additionally, the study authors found that fabrics dyed with azo dyes also emitted volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as acetone and methanol, which are highly irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract and can cause headaches. nausea and dizziness. These volatile organic compounds can also react with ozone in the air to form ground-level ozone, an air pollutant known to harm human health and the environment.
Additionally, the study authors also found that fabrics dyed with azo dyes released toxic chemicals during washing. These chemicals can be harmful to the environment, contaminating surrounding water and soil.
But research has not limited itself to demonstrating the damage caused by industrial dyes, but has proposed solutions to reduce their negative impact. The study authors pioneered the use of new dyeing processes that use less toxic chemicals, such as natural plant-derived dyes, and found that these processes can reduce environmental impact and improve fabric quality.
In addition, the study authors also proposed adopting advanced wastewater treatment technologies, such as microfiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis, to remove toxic chemicals from liquid waste produced during the dyeing process.
What can we do
This research is game changing because it demonstrates the negative impact of industrial dyes on human health and the environment, and proposes concrete solutions to reduce their impact. Textile companies should adopt sustainable production practices that use less toxic chemicals and innovative dyeing processes to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. Additionally, they should invest in advanced wastewater treatment technologies to remove toxic chemicals from the liquid waste produced during the dyeing process.
Furthermore, consumers can do their part by choosing to buy fabrics dyed with natural dyes derived from plants, which are less harmful to human health and the environment. In this way, they can help reduce the impact of the textile industry on the environment and human health.
It's important to note that the research isn't just limited to fabrics dyed with azo dyes, it also applies to other dyeing processes that use toxic chemicals. Textile companies should take a holistic approach to reducing the environmental impact of their operations, using less toxic chemicals and innovative production processes, and investing in advanced wastewater treatment technologies.
In conclusion, the recent research published in Scientific Reports demonstrates unequivocally the damage that industrial dyes can cause on human health and the environment. However, the research also proposes concrete solutions to reduce the environmental impact of dyeing activities, such as the use of less toxic chemicals and innovative dyeing processes, and the adoption of advanced wastewater treatment technologies. Textile companies and consumers should do their part to reduce the impact of the textile industry on the environment and human health by choosing sustainable products and adopting responsible production practices. Only through a holistic approach can we create a sustainable future for fashion and for our planet.
It is important to underline that not all industrial dyes are harmful to health and the environment. In fact, there are sustainable alternatives, such as natural dyes derived from plants, which produce fabrics with soft and natural colors and are less toxic to human health and the environment.
In addition, many companies are adopting new sustainable production processes, using advanced wastewater treatment technologies and investing in fabric recycling systems.
At Thuja we are committed to supporting the sustainable textile industry, using dyes and production processes that respect the environment and human health. Our fabrics are produced with natural dyes derived from plants and with sustainable production processes. Choosing our products means not only having high quality fabrics, but also making a conscious choice for the environment and for human health.