Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Three Chemicals

Interestingly enough, when Dr. Zoltan Rona (Toronto medical and environmental physician) sent my blood for testing to a lab in Virginia (early 1990's) three chemicals showed up:  Pentacholorphenal, Malaic Anhydride and Toluene.  If you check below you can see how each of these chemicals are used in the finishing of cloth and their side effects.  When I was in Sarasota some years ago, I bought a book at The Ringling School of Art on the toxic materials artist's work with and nowhere was there any mention of cloth or textiles.  Yet, you put a steam iron onto cloth and you can smell the chemical odour/resins coming off the cloth.  Worth thinking about, not that it will change the medium I use.  We do pay a price for working in the medium we do ( cloth/textiles) especially when we're not aware or informed about the materials (our medium) we are working with.


At May 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM , Blogger Sara in Florida said...

Rosey, does washing the fabric help in getting rid of the chemicals?
I would think going through the washing machine with detergent and then rinsing several times & drying would get rid of some. Otherwise wouldn't all our clothes smell of chemicals?
Sara in Fla.

At May 14, 2013 at 6:19 PM , Blogger RoseyP said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At May 14, 2013 at 6:23 PM , Blogger RoseyP said...

Sara. washing cloth in hot soapy water helps but these resins, Jeff Gutcheon explained to me, are put into the cloth to last the lifetime of that cloth. So the answer is some but the resins remain in the cloth.

I met Jeff and Beth Gutcheon (no longer married to each otehr) in 1977 when I co-convened the first Canadian Quilt Symposium in Toronto and both were excellent speakers and teachers so that when I became so ill after my reaction to anesthetics in 1985, eight years later, he was, I felt, someone whom I could contact about the chemicals in cloth. I felt that he was pretty open with me given that he was now a textile converter. A textile converter takes the griege cloth, which is how it comes from off-shore once woven into cloth...a non-coloured cloth. The converters put all the finishes in the cloth including the dyes.
I had to correct a spelling mistake, this is the same posting as has been deleted

At May 14, 2013 at 7:41 PM , Blogger RoseyP said...


You might all find this website interesting particularly the interview dialogue.


At May 15, 2013 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Doris W. in TN said...

Sara - like Rosey said, pre-washing helps with the topical residue. I do it more for the out-gassing issues.

The clothing we wear (as well as our cotton sheets, too!) is impregnanted with nano-particles, primarily to reduce wrinkling and staining. (people won't iron anymore...) That's why my dressy tees from Eddie Bauer don't wrinkle horribly (they are "siliconized" taa-daaaa!!!), and modern wrinkle-free cotton is ... well ... wrinkle-free.

So I pre-wash just to avoid out-gassing when I am pressing during construction of quilts or clothing.

Wamsutta some time ago finally stopped making the cotton sheets that wrinkle and were not treated with chemicals. I loved those old sheets!


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