News Release

Formaldehyde levels in fabrics on the Ghanaian market

The article by Dr. Patience Danquah Monnie and colleagues is published in the journal, Current Materials Science, 2022

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Bentham Science Publishers

The use of fabrics for protection has existed since the beginning of human history. Fabrics provide protection against harmful agents, such as sunlight, rain, bacteria and viruses. However, an individual may contract diseases by using the fabrics instead of being protected due to chemicals used in production processes. Humans are exposed to hazardous chemicals, such as formaldehyde, used in fabrics through breathing, ingestion and dermal absorption that can cause adverse health effects.

Formaldehyde is a chemical used in several textile production processes, such as hardening of fibres and antimold finishing. However, it has varying effects on humans, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, wheezing, chest pains and bronchitis. In the midst of COVID-19, individuals are using various fabrics for face mask production, which may be containing levels of formaldehyde that can negatively affect their health. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to wash your new clothes before putting them on.

Dr. Patience Danquah Monnie and colleagues, from University of Cape Coast, Ghana, have investigated formaldehyde levels in fabrics on the Ghanaian market to determine compliance to standards set by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA). With the aid of experimental procedures, they selected thirty-two (32) different brands of fabrics for their investigation. Formaldehyde levels were determined using a spectrophotometer (DR6000). Data were analyzed using the Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) for Windows version 22. Mean of the performance attributes and the formaldehyde levels of the sampled fabrics were determined before and after washing. Inferential statistics (Analysis of Variance and Paired Samples t-test) at 0.05 alpha levels were used to determine significant differences between and among the groups involved.

The researchers found that the fabric samples tested positive for formaldehyde before and after washing, with some exceeding the standard limits set by the GSA. Significant differences existed between and among the samples with regard to formaldehyde levels as well as weight and weave types of the samples and formaldehyde levels. Concluding the research findings, washing significantly reduced the formaldehyde levels in the fabrics. “Ghana standards authority needs to takes a further look at the fabrics on the local market to ensure manufacturers comply with set standards”, notes Dr. Monnie, adding that, “consumers are also advised to wash their clothes at least once before use to reduce the level of impact formaldehyde resin may have on them.” Dr. Monnie’s team has received support (Grant Identification: RSG/GRP/CES/2020/142) from the Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy of University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Their report has been published in Current Materials Science.

The article is open access and can be retreived from here:

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