Australian retailers have taken over 120,000 items of clothing and bedding off their shelves after it was discovered the items contained carcinogenic chemicals.
These chemicals, known commonly as azo dyes, break down into “aromatic amines” which are absorbed through the skin and have been proven to be cancer causing in humans and animals.
Notable retailers which have issued a recall are Target, Myer, Just Jeans, Coles Supermarkets, among many others.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was quick to state that exposure to the public will be minimal, but admitted the chemicals and “the associated cancer risks give cause for concern”.
These dyes are currently banned in Europe but are legal in Australia, although from June 1 they will be classified as a dangerous poison in the same category as cyanide, strychnine and arsenic.
Most concerning is the use of the dye in bed linen but it can also be found in foods, cosmetics, carpets, clothes, leather and textiles.
Australian retailers are currently working with the ACCC to ensure their fabrics are azo dye free and are testing their products.