The time may have come for you to purchase new clothing for your team. While you’re perusing colours and fabrics, hypo-allergenic clothing may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you’ve already banned perfumes in your workplace, you may want to consider the potential allergy-causing ingredients that may be present in the clothing you choose.
Many companies have emerged over the years that make use of non-mainstream fabrics like hemp and sour milk to create their clothing. Moreover, while these products are incredibly environmentally-friendly and conserve resources, they may also place your team in misery. For example, sour milk fabric is not able to be worn by those with milk allergies, and hemp can also cause allergic reactions. The best way to avoid allergy risk is to research any fabrics you are considering for your new employee uniforms.
New Clothing Treatment
Although you may not like it, a lot of new clothing is treated to prevent the fabric from wrinkling. To do this, formaldehyde is often used. Although the quantity of this chemical used is very small, there are those who are incredibly sensitive to it. In fact, some people are so sensitive to formaldehyde that they avoid wearing new clothing altogether, because second-hand items have almost no trace of formaldehyde due to multiple washings.
If the clothing you’ve chosen has been treated with formaldehyde, you may wish to consider having it washed more than one time before giving the clothing to employees who are sensitive to it.
Latex and Nickel
Like any other allergy, latex and nickel allergies are more common than you may realise. Elastic bands found in shirts and trousers can be enough to cause severe reactions in some. Similarly, nickel is a common allergen for many. And it can be found in any of the metal parts of trousers, such as zips, buckles and the studs on jeans. Some can’t even carry small change in their pockets, as it can cause a rash. And so imagine having to wear nickel-containing clothing for 8 or more hours per day. Exploring alternatives to latex and nickel may be a good idea if there are those in your company who have allergies to them.
Para-Phenylenediamine or PPD can be found in dark-coloured hair dye, cosmetics and fabric. For some, it can cause contact dermatitis. Those working for your company who may suffer from an allergy to this chemical may benefit from work clothing that is lighter in colour, as PPD isn’t used in them. Another alternative is to ensure the work clothing you choose is made of plain 100% cotton.
Phthalates, Perfluorinated Chemicals and Brominate
Phthalates have been making the news. This ingredient can be found in plastics, and has been linked to hormone disruption. Phthalates can also be found in clothing with plastic logos and even in shoes. The presence of phthalates can be confirmed by a strong plastic smell.
If you are considering purchasing clothing with breathable fabric for your team, you should know that some of this fabric is made with perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. PFCs are used in several types of clothing as well as on non-stick surfaces. These chemicals are carcinogenic and have been found to cause disruption in the endocrine system.
A similar danger exists in fabrics treated with brominated flame retardant. Bromates are highly toxic and as such, warrant careful consideration.
The number of allergy-causing materials used in the making of employee uniforms can be overwhelming. However, once you understand the reactions associated with each, you can be better informed when choosing fabrics for your employees.