Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Chemicals in clothing concern for consumers in Australia

Chemicals in clothing concern for consumers in Australia

Jun '12
CHOICE says that inadequate chemical regulation for imported textiles, clothing and footwear means that consumers are unaware that they could be wearing toxic chemicals.

In a report into chemicals in textiles, clothing and footwear (TCF), the people’s watchdog says Australian chemical regulation lags behind other countries. As a result, Australians are exposed to higher risks of allergic reactions to chemicals in new clothes, footwear and even furniture.   

“Over ninety percent of the clothes on Australian shelves are imported. The trend for ‘fast fashion’ also means that retailers are under pressure to put more stock on shelves, more often,” says CHOICE spokesperson, Ingrid Just.

“That pressure, combined with our inadequate chemical regulation for apparel, means that consumers have less protection than people in other countries where regulation is stronger.”

The European Union’s ‘EU Reach’ legislation regulates the use of more than 300 thousand harmful substances used in textile, clothing and footwear. EU Reach also sets maximum chemical limits for TCF products that come into contact with human skin.

The situation in Europe contrasts with that in Australia, where 50 thousand substances are overseen by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) – the Australian equivalent of EU Reach.  Additionally, in Australia, there are no legally prescribed limits for the use of those substances in textiles. 

The CHOICE report cites the case of a woman who suffered chemical burns from new ballet style shoes when they were wet from rain. Subsequent tests by Monash University showed that the shoes were treated with a fungicide and rubber accelerator which was released when the shoes came into contact with water.

“A CHOICE member contacted us about her experience of suffering a burning sensation two hours after putting on a pair of new bowling shoes. She told the supplier who dismissed the complaint but has since contacted the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission  (ACCC). She has also sent the shoes away for testing. 

“Others have come forward – including the mum of a 10 year old boy who suffered large hives and welts after wearing a new school shirt before it was washed,” says Ms Just.

One mould prevention chemical commonly found in shoes, jackets and furniture is dimethyl fumarate (DMF). The chemical, which is often found in small satchels in the product packaging, has been linked to eczema. DMF is banned in the EU but its use is widespread in Australia.

Must ReadView All

US President Joe Biden. Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 29th Jul 2021

Proposed amendments to raise US content in federal purchases announced

The United States has decided to raise US-made content in government...

Pic: Shutterstock

Retail | On 29th Jul 2021

UK department store Selfridges put up for sale for £4 bn

Canada's Weston family that owns Selfridges has put up the UK...

Pic: Shutterstock

E-commerce | On 29th Jul 2021

Chinese firm Mogu to acquire 59.62% equity interest in Hangzhou Ruisha

Chinese online fashion and lifestyle destination Mogu has announced...

Interviews View All

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Trainers faced immense challenges as most were not tech-savvy

Vandana Narang, National Institute of Fashion Technology

Vandana Narang
National Institute of Fashion Technology

Campus placements are low due to lockdowns

Textile Industry, Head honchos

Textile Industry
Head honchos

Good tidings expected for textile industry

Rajesh Vohra,

Rajesh Vohra

A part of the Italy based multinational company Artsana Group, Chicco is...

Raiyan Islam,

Raiyan Islam

Founded in 1981 by Sayeeful Islam, Concorde Garments Group is a market...

Erwin Devloo,

Erwin Devloo

The Picanol Group is a diversified industrial group active worldwide in...

Silverio Baranzano, Fitesa

Silverio Baranzano

Fitesa is a leader in the nonwoven fabrics industry, specialising in...

Michael Jaenecke, Messe Frankfurt

Michael Jaenecke
Messe Frankfurt

From May 14 to 17, international exhibitors will present the entire...

Madison Maxey, Loomia

Madison Maxey

Loomia designs and manufactures soft circuit systems that can be produced...

Archana Jaju, Label Archana Jaju

Archana Jaju
Label Archana Jaju

<b>Archana Jaju</b>’s Hyderabad-based eponymous label works with artisans...

Abhishek Bajaj & Samiksha Bajaj, Samshek

Abhishek Bajaj & Samiksha Bajaj

Samshek is a fashion forward tech brand which combines digital experience...

Sweta Agarwal, A Humming Way

Sweta Agarwal
A Humming Way

A Humming Way (AHW) is inspired by the old-world regalia of Rajasthan...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


Letter To Editor

(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies


Leave your Comments

July 2021

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

Advanced Search