The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued recalls for a number of clothing and bed sheet products containing the carcinogenic ‘azo dye’.
So far the dyes have mostly been found in jeans, bed sheets and children’s clothes sold by retailers including Myer, Just Jeans, Target, Rivers, Pillow Talk and Cotton On.
In a statement released by the ACCC, it said that a number of items which contain unacceptable concentrations of the hazardous dye have been identified.
“While consumer exposure to hazardous azo dyes is likely to be very low, the associated cancer risks give cause for concern,” the ACCC said.
So far more than 208,000 items of clothing have been voluntarily recalled due to the products containing azo dyes, and more recalls are likely to follow. Around 37 product lines from retailers including have been found to include the dye.
The first round of recalls started in March after a tip off by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme. The initial tests that followed on 300 sample items confirmed the presence of azo dye in approximately 3 per cent of products.
Consumers and retailers alike have been advised to take note of the keycode of their product and compare it to the list of keycodes on the Product Safety Recalls website. The keycode is the style code that is generally printed on the label at the waist of items of clothing.
At the request of the Minister for Small Business Bruce Billson, the ACCC has commenced a process to assess whether further regulation is required to address the potential hazards associated with textile dyes.
ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard has said there are no limits on these dyes at the moment but that the regulatory body is expecting to deliver a report on the use of the potentially dangerous chemicals in clothing to the Government in July.
Although the chemicals are already prohibited in Europe, there are currently no laws in Australia directly prohibiting the sale of imported fabrics containing the chemicals.