How to reduce your formaldehyde exposure | Queen of Green | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: How to reduce your formaldehyde exposure

The Queen of Green was featured on Dr.Oz, Friday April 18, 2014!

What's colourless, preserves frogs, coats pillow cases and impregnates 'no-iron' shirts?

Answer: formaldehyde.

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Learn how to avoid it by watching me on The Dr. Oz show! I'm was a guest expert. (For real. They flew me to New York to tape and eat half my weight in complimentary green room hummus.)

Formaldehyde is used in clothing, bedding and curtains because it...

1. Prevents wrinkles
2. Prevents mildew during shipping
3. Increases colour fastness
4. Increases stain resistance

Why get your knickers in a knot?

1. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen says the International Agency for Research on Cancer (PDF); Canada has also declared it toxic and the U.S. doesn't regulate its use in clothing
2. You won't find it listed on the label
3. Even low-level exposure can cause headache, runny nose or contact dermatitis a.k.a. skin irritation a.k.a. rash

Formaldehyde is particularly troublesome for those with chemical sensitivities, which may explain why you're still suffering from rashes or eczema even after switching to less-toxic laundry soap and ditching fragranced dryer sheets.

Reduce your formaldehyde exposure:

1. Wash all clothes and linens BEFORE wearing or using — gets rid of about 60 per cent of the stuff
2. Avoid products labelled "wrinkle-free", "iron-free", "permanent-press" or "stain-resistant"
3. Perform a "sniff test" — if it smells chemical-y, don't buy it, or return it
4. Choose organic cottons

What household goods have you found to be the worst off-gassing offenders?

Comment on this blog to win a $50.00 gift certificate from Canadian eco-designer Nicole Bridger! (Draw February 10.)

Sincerely,
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green

April 18, 2014
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2014/04/how-to-reduce-your-formaldehyde-exposure/

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140 Comments

Apr 21, 2014
9:04 PM

On Earth day I wanted to be more aware and from youtube Earth Day messages search directed me to this site. I wanted to know what can I do and now I have decided that I will not buy wrinkle free shirts. I feel we all are responsible for our planet and we need to spread awareness.

Feb 10, 2014
1:27 AM

I wasn’t aware of this. My partner has been suffering from eczema lately and we now suspect this may be the cause — many of his work shirts are “easy-iron” or “no-iron”. Thanks for the post.

Feb 09, 2014
10:09 PM

I didn’t know that!

Feb 09, 2014
8:00 PM

I try to buy clothes without wrinkle resistance, or any of those strong smells. And I will wash something senseless if I have to — before I put it on my family. But a lot of people just don’t get it, nor do they seem to care. I wonder if labeling requirements like on food would make the difference. If it’s right there under the “cotton” label, then people would see it and be forced to think about their purchases.

Feb 09, 2014
7:58 PM

Thank you for sharing this information! I am going to pay more attention to our clothing articles. I am proud to say I bought a organic baby mattress and organic mattress cover. I am building a green baby!

Feb 09, 2014
5:19 PM

I can see how important it would be to wash bedding before using it. Awful to think of all the chemical exposure while sleeping.

Feb 09, 2014
3:50 PM

There’s a huge need for truly chemical free clothing. My blog gets thousands of hits every year from people all over the world who are searching for it. Even organic cotton clothing (and bedding) can be toxic if regular dyes and finishes are used. It’s not just formaldehyde! Sometimes the chemicals can be washed out, but other times they are permanently embedded. And washing the toxic stuff just pollutes those who live downstream… little fishies, frogs, and oops, us too! We have to drink that water! Municipal systems were not designed to remove all the toxic chemicals we dump into the water… We really need truly non-toxic, chemical free clothing!

Feb 09, 2014
12:41 PM

This information may help me understand why I may have some health issues. I will have too stop purchasing the convenient “wrinkle-free”, “iron-free”, “permanent-press” linen and clothing. I may live a bit longer and help the earth in doing so. We all could use more awareness of our purchases and environment. Keep keeping us informed. Thank you!

Feb 09, 2014
12:15 PM

After reading David Suzuki’s article on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ cosmetic chemicals (http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/dirty-dozen-cosmetic-chemicals/), I was shocked to find that some of my hair products contained formaldehyde-releasing chemicals.

It’s disgusting to learn that formaldehyde is used in clothing manufacturing as well, and I am definitely going to be more careful with purchasing and washing clothing!

Thank you for this article!

Feb 09, 2014
11:20 AM

Thanks for the informative post! Hadn’t thought too much about the chemicals in clothes….

Feb 09, 2014
11:00 AM

so gross and scary. Especially thinking about it on our children’s stuff!!

Feb 09, 2014
10:53 AM

Thanks for all this info! When you wash these chemical laden clothes, where do the toxins go? Into our drinking water…and not all can be removed by municipal filtration.

Feb 09, 2014
10:23 AM

I definitely think that buying used clothes is a wise thing to do as far as dealing with fermaldehyde. Your chances of being exposed to this toxin is much less. And more environmentally friendly!!!!

Feb 09, 2014
9:23 AM

Wow, very eye opening article, and great comments left by readers. It’s so discouraging to see all the ways we harm ourselves and our environment, but good to see that more and more people are investing themselves in learning and changing how they live.

Feb 09, 2014
9:22 AM

Trying to find children’s clothing without chemicals is increasingly difficult. I have a 2 yr old grandson and a 3 yr old granddaughter. Interestingly I have found that there is more 100% cotton selection for boys than girls. This is so disgusting, finding out that children are being systematically poisoned and exposed to a barrage of chemicals. I could really use the $50 gift certificate to help my grandchildren be less poisoned!

Feb 09, 2014
9:16 AM

Thank you so much for raising awareness and educating the public on formaldehyde and acknowledging the fact that avoiding and switching to less-toxic laundry soap, and ditching ‘fragranced’ dryer sheets. What about the fabric softeners.
These toxic chemicals effect me directly and what concerns me also is that all these toxic chemicals do directly into our water system. I suffer from chemical sensitivities and all GAIN laundry products and all Febreze products but especially laundry products which is very difficult to avoid the most harmful. It has cost me my health job, and social life. Yet, not to many people will acknowledge that chemical sensitivities exists and its a real disability. So, I truly appreciate this article, educating the public, and standing up for what you know and believe to be true. Thank you!

Feb 09, 2014
9:13 AM

Its sad that clothing isnt safe anymore, its time to buy quality pieces that will last a long time like our ancestors did! Buy locally made iems and help support our communities!

Feb 07, 2014
10:57 PM

Aha! Just as I suspected. I’ve had noticeable problems with lately were a pair of black jeans, dark brown cotton throw rugs, and black acetate palazzo pants. I tried soaking them in Arm

Feb 07, 2014
7:54 PM

I had no idea about this and will definitely keep it in mind when shopping in the future.

Feb 07, 2014
1:08 PM

I never knew that formaldehyde was a known carcinogen and that it is so prevalent on everyday items. I find it disappointing that if Canada declares it toxic, then it can be allowed on clothing. I guess as always, it is up to us to be aware of these things and look after ourselves, rather than relying on government agencies to regulate things. Thanks for the informative article!

Feb 07, 2014
12:50 PM

I remember when formaldehyde was in the chemical they used for Brazilian blowouts. My hair stylish at the time was telling me how awful it was for the stylists who performed the treatment because they were inhaling it all day, every day. I did get a couple done, but thankfully I wasn’t part of the initial wave and formaldehyde was no longer an ingredient, or so they told me.

Feb 07, 2014
2:18 AM

I used to work in a large fabric store. I was told that if I ever became pregnant, I would have to take a leave of absence due to the chemicals/ sizings in the fabrics. Scary, scary stuff!

Feb 07, 2014
2:13 AM

Another reason to buy local (and avoid the chemical treatments used in long-haul shipping), and buy organic whenever possible. Appreciate you sharing your insights—very helpful!

Feb 06, 2014
10:10 PM

Another incentive to buy secondhand! Hopefully repeated washings will have gotten most of the chemicals off. Although, thrift stores seem to have a smell of their own…hope they’re not also using toxic detergents on the merchandise!

Feb 06, 2014
9:35 PM

I accidentally bought fleecy fabric softener instead of scent free (this was a long while ago, I now only use wool dryer balls and they work great!) Anyway every time I walked into the laundry room a smell would hit me and I would get an instant headache! This stuff is so toxic and potent that it off-gassed straight through the plastic and into the air, with the lid on tight!

Feb 06, 2014
5:06 PM

I am so happy you are back, first of all.: )

Secondly, this really freaks me out! :(( Such overuse of such awful stuff! Terrible!

Feb 06, 2014
3:35 PM

There is no necessity for anyone to sleep in formaldehyde-impregnated pj’s, but there is a necessity to be healthy and not exposed to toxins. Fabric stores are the worst, When you walk in. Will look for you on Dr.Oz!

Feb 06, 2014
10:08 AM

I never knew that formaldehyde was a known carcinogen and that it is so prevalent on everyday items. I find it disappointing that if Canada declares it toxic, then it can be allowed on clothing. I guess as always, it is up to us to be aware of these things and look after ourselves, rather than relying on government agencies to regulate things.

Feb 06, 2014
9:13 AM

Well, you can learn something new everyday if you’re paying attention, I’m not necessarily stoked to learn about formaldehyde in my clothes, but I’d rather know to be wary than be completely ignorant. Thanks for the tips!

Feb 06, 2014
6:05 AM

If it is a known carcinogen, they should really put the info on the product. Then people could make a knowledgeable decision and things would change!

Feb 06, 2014
5:58 AM

If Canada has declared it toxic, I wonder why it’s still allowed in these kinds of products.

Feb 05, 2014
10:40 PM

I will never wear a new clothing item without washing it again! I’ll spread the word.

Feb 05, 2014
10:34 PM

Such a good habit to wash new clothes before wearing.

Feb 05, 2014
10:31 PM

And we wonder why so many people are getting cancers. Luckily, we are learning about all these toxic additives to our clothing, cosmetics and foods. 5 years ago, I had no idea. Now I read every label and try my best to buy whole organic foods. I even make my own soap and beauty products. All natural me!

Feb 05, 2014
8:50 PM

I was aware of formaldehyde as an evil substance but I am dismayed to read about yet another cavalier oversight with regard to clothing manufacture and the rights of the consumer. Never-mind the atrocities committed in production of raw materials to the environment and more importantly consistently underestimated marginalization of the labourer in terms of remuneration and work conditions. I guess we must attempt to do what we can to create positive change.

Feb 05, 2014
8:30 PM

Good to know! They’re really helpful.

Feb 05, 2014
6:50 PM

Gosh, how to narrow it down to one when there are so many nasty offenders?! I try to buy everything second hand but if I do buy new, I let the item off-gas outside for a day. For absolute worst off-gassing offender, I will nominate anything made with pressed particle board! My husband and I bought a brand new cabinet for our unborn baby’s room. It smelled so awful we had to shut the nursery room door and leave the window open. After three days it still smelled bad!! We took it back to the store and never bought ‘new’ again.

Feb 05, 2014
5:21 PM

Ever since getting a horrible rash from a new blouse while I was in university, all new items are laundered before use. That includes fabric for sewing, sheets, socks, underwear. Besides, haven’t we all seen new clothing being offered for sale on the department store floor?

Feb 05, 2014
4:33 PM

I have found some new pairs of jeans to have a weird odor even after washing them several times. It definitely makes me suspect as to what chemicals could be causing that smell! Perhaps it’s time to ditch the ones like that. It happened to be a pair that was pretty cheap, hmmm. Great article, thanks!

Feb 05, 2014
4:31 PM

If Canada has declared it toxic, I wonder why it’s still allowed in these kinds of products.

Feb 05, 2014
3:52 PM

Thanks so much for the info!

Feb 05, 2014
3:28 PM

The worst part for me is always after I go into a store to try clothing…when I get out, I have puffy red eyes, feel tired, foggy brain and get lot of red itching spots in my body…like at Jacob and Anthropologie…I tough it was the perfume but now I understand why I also have some contact dermatitis under the arms when I sweat in some shirt. I with all my heart that one day, very soon, we’ll be well informed so that we can make good choices. It is a crime to separate us from our free will to take care of ourselves and the world around us…

Feb 05, 2014
3:00 PM

So frustrating that these ingredients can be used at all — let alone without a label being required. Risking our health for convenience and looks seems so silly!

Feb 05, 2014
2:16 PM

This post is very timely. We hung new curtains in bedrooms prior to Christmas. A couple of weeks later I smelt a terrible odour which I could not identify. After rewashing all bedding and other washables in the room, I finally clicked that the smell was from the curtains.

Even after washing them twice the smell is still there. Hoping that it will eventually fade. I am very upset about this as I had family (including my grand-daughter) sleeping in the room.
thanks for your post.

Feb 05, 2014
1:26 PM

Another reason to support locally made organic and earth friendly products!

Feb 05, 2014
12:26 PM

Wow, that’s scary, thanks for the info! :)

Feb 05, 2014
12:25 PM

Thank you for the information. And I am always interested in where we can buy environmentally-friendly things in Canada.

Feb 05, 2014
12:24 PM

One of the ways I avoid formaldehyde is avoid buying anything new. Check out my last years new years resolution!

http://greeningtheymca.wordpress.com/\

Feb 05, 2014
12:11 PM

I had no idea! Can’t say I’m surprised though …

Feb 05, 2014
12:08 PM

Thank you for sharing this and so much other valuable information with us so that we are able to improve the lives of those we love and care about. I have been following you for some time and really have learned so much! I have made huge modifications to the art and science of cleaning and purchasing everything that enters our home. I look forward to your future revelations as well!

Feb 05, 2014
12:02 PM

I had no idea! And if it is used, why is it not listed on the label???

Feb 05, 2014
11:50 AM

It’s scary to think about how prevalent formaldehyde is—thanks for the tips!

Feb 05, 2014
11:47 AM

We had to buy a new mattress last year as it was making my chronic pains much worse. Despite doing extensive research to find something good that will last longer than two years and not cost a fortune (even the cheap ones aren’t cheap), but also fairly enviro/people friendly and I thought I found one. Turns out it is still off gassing even five months later. Sometimes my husband can even smell the mattress on me. Gross!

Feb 05, 2014
11:42 AM

My friend, who used to work at a well-loved clothing store, warned me to wash all clothing after you buy it. She told me that, unless its made in Canada, most were treated with pesticides and formaldehyde. They had even found dessicated rodents in their shipments before! That did it for me!! It doesnt surprise me at all. These containers spend weeks on ships.

Feb 05, 2014
11:26 AM

During a visit to my mother in Sydney, Australia (I know terrible carbon foot print) I walked into a swimsuit store and it reeked of chemicals. I asked the sales lady about the smell and she explained that she had just gotten in a new shipment of swim wear. I felt very sorry for the sales lady who was breathing the toxics in and for customers who will wear the toxic swimsuits.

Clothes that are waterproof, insect proof and come with sunscreen must be loaded with chemicals.

Thank you so much for raising awareness about how companies are poisoning us and Mother Earth.

Feb 05, 2014
11:15 AM

New clothes smell and feel gross-I always wash them first

Feb 05, 2014
11:11 AM

It is a great habit to get into to wash clothes before wearing. They smell and feel gross anyways!

Feb 05, 2014
10:44 AM

Nail polish has formaldehyde too! So do some other cosmetics. Read the ingredients and stay away from these: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, dimethyl-dimethyl (DMDM) hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol). You can also go to http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to check the toxicity of the products you’re using. They have an app too!

Feb 05, 2014
10:43 AM

The one thing that really freaks me out is my kids’ pajamas. I’m pretty picky about what I buy, but they get a lot of PJs as gifts. They’re often not made of natural fibres, and have a very chemical smell. Of course my kids love them, so it’s a choice between playing the bad guy or allowing them to be exposed to chemicals. Argh!

Feb 05, 2014
10:32 AM

Interesting that all the conveniences of life create so many chemicals and toxic results!

Feb 05, 2014
10:31 AM

While I like to support Canadian companies, Mark’s Work Wearhouse is one of the worst offenders when it comes to chemical treatment of clothing, especially men’s trousers. Can’t be a good thing for the guys, eh.

Feb 05, 2014
10:24 AM

Thanks queen of green! I used to wear things before washing but will be sure to wash first now!!

Feb 05, 2014
10:23 AM

Thanks for this. I didn’t realize that many types of clothing/materials contained formaldehyde! I do try to choose organic cotton when I can but will double my efforts after reading this.

Feb 05, 2014
10:19 AM

Very informative! This just adds to the issues with labeling or lack there of…

I look forward to the Dr. Oz piece!

Feb 05, 2014
10:17 AM

Uh-oh! I was just telling my husband that I liked his Arnold Palmer flannelette shirts because I don’t have to iron them. Ironing flannelette shirts only became necessary once I stopped using the dryer and hung my laundry on a rack indoors. This in an effort to reduce electricity use.

Feb 05, 2014
10:15 AM

So grateful for this now I feel like I know better. No more iron free products — got it! with gratitude

Feb 05, 2014
10:14 AM

Uh-oh. I was just telling my husband that I liked his Arnold Palmer flannelette shirts because I don’t have to iron them. Ironing flannelette shirts has only become necessary since I stopped using the dryer and have been hanging my laundry on a rack indoors (to use less electrical energy).

Feb 05, 2014
10:13 AM

So grateful for this, now feel like I know better! No more iron free products — got it! with gratitude

Feb 05, 2014
10:09 AM

What can we do to force manufacturers to fully disclose what is in their products? I am disgusted by and fed up with all of these hidden carcinogens that we are exposed to on a daily basis without our knowledge.

Feb 03, 2014
12:32 PM

We are so disconnected from the process of manufacturing that this comes as a great surprise. Not only are dyes very harmful to the environment, but then we expose ourselves to nasty ingredients just to make things look nice and not wrinkly. Thanks for posting!

Feb 03, 2014
11:53 AM

Useful tips. Look forward to the Dr. Oz airing date.

Jan 14, 2014
10:23 PM

More sources of formaldehyde and ways to avoid it: http://dermnet.org.nz/dermatitis/formaldehyde-allergy.html

Jan 14, 2014
8:49 AM

I knew about the shirts, but NEVER thought about my sheets. I just went through mine and was thinking of replacing them, time to do some research. Suggestions?

Jan 13, 2014
1:18 PM

I had no idea formaldehyde was so prevalent! Thanks for the enlightenment, Lindsay.

Jan 11, 2014
10:25 AM

I don’t want the gift certificate, but I just want to commend you, Lindsay, on your five minutes of fame for such a good cause. If more info like this becomes more public, we green bloggers will have less to write about, and that’s always a good thing. Go Lindsay, go!

P.S. Congrats on the adorable wee one!

Jan 09, 2014
9:30 PM

I once wore a pair of jeans without washing them…never ever again. i had to leave work to go home and change as I broke out in a terrible ‘rash’. This wouldn’t be from formaldehyde, would it?? It took me 15-20 washes before I could wear them.

Jan 09, 2014
3:22 PM

The worst of the worst of offenders has got to be clothes from COSTCO!!!! I wash and wash and rinse and rinse….. they smell so bad of chemicals! The prices are so good though and with raising a family, I have to look for the deals…. but I pay the price with my water bills :( darn! Why do they have to be so harsh? Softly….killing us :(

Jan 09, 2014
12:10 PM

I have done this for years, and it is especially important for baby and kids clothes, since I think their skin is more able to absorb toxins (just a guess) and their bodies are less able to detoxify them. I wonder about new furniture, curtains, and carpets = what to do about those bigger items? Do these chemicals (which include anti-ignitable chemies, super nasty apparently) off gas for example, if left in a carport or outside under cover somehow?

Jan 09, 2014
11:41 AM

I have found carpeting to be a big off gassing offender. I have moved to hardwood throughout most of the house, but then I should try to find some alternatives to the area rugs and mats. I absolutely cannot tolerate dryer softener sheets. I find that I can live with a bit of static in the winter and try to hang clothes outside as much as possible in the summer. Thanks for raising the issue.

Jan 09, 2014
10:55 AM

I’ve heard of this, but was unsure if it was true. I’m concerned because I work in a warehouse that sells only clothes, and I’m guessing less than 3% of our product is organic. Not good!

Jan 09, 2014
10:42 AM

I had no idea! Thank you. If you can’t choose organic cotton due to cost, what other options would you suggest? We buy used clothing, do repeated washings over time remove most of the formaldehyde?

Jan 09, 2014
8:36 AM

The worst offenders in my closet are my fleece lined leggings. Even after washing a couple of times in fragrance free detergent and using fragrance free dryer sheets they smell like chemicals. I wonder if there’s more in there than formaldehyde… Ewww.

Jan 09, 2014
8:11 AM

I had no idea! Thank you for the info.

Jan 09, 2014
5:27 AM

I’ll be sure to watch you on Oz….and yes I’ve often wondered why clothes and especially bedding from some stores smell worse than others…now I know! Thanks for the great read!

Jan 09, 2014
5:17 AM

I’m a quilter and therefore am handling fabric which is not always organic. I’ll try and catch the show. Thanks JaniceP

Jan 09, 2014
4:03 AM

Great to know! Would explain the rashes and why my daughter loves hand me downs ( not that I’m complaining)!

Jan 09, 2014
12:16 AM

holy! thats all knew to me! I am super sensitive to all sorts of stuff since I worked in aviation industry… who would have ever thought that clothing would be troublesome.. I mean.. i never thought of it///

Jan 09, 2014
12:08 AM

I found formaldehyde free bed sheets in Thailand. Never seen that label before either. Real need to reduce plastics in clothing too, and oestrogen (mimics) in general before we all become sterile

Jan 08, 2014
11:05 PM

Crazy to think what the clothing companies get away with. Thanks for bringing it to attention.

Jan 08, 2014
10:53 PM

Good to know.

Jan 08, 2014
10:50 PM

Thanks for the info!

Jan 08, 2014
10:41 PM

I didn’t know this, I am completely shocked and not surprised at the same time, and I am altogether repulsed by the extents to which industry will knowingly expose human beings to carcinogens.

Jan 08, 2014
10:25 PM

Thanks for the heads up, keep up the good work!

Jan 08, 2014
8:27 PM

And the formaldehyde in every vaccine they inject into our children???

Jan 08, 2014
8:20 PM

Thanks for this article. I bought my grandkids some pjs for Christmas. I washed them before I gave them to them. I’m SO glad I did because they DID have tags on them saying “Fire Resistant”. I’m glad to see that was the right thing to do.

Jan 08, 2014
7:28 PM

I was really glad to hear more about this topic, as I work in the apparel industry.

I’m wondering if formaldehyde always has a smell? I also wonder if there are certain places where clothing is manufactured where formaldehyde is more commonly used?

Jan 08, 2014
7:24 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formaldehyde

Everyone should be mindful of what materials we put on our bodies and what we put in our mouth. Crest toothpaste has formaldehyde. There are many more products that we should be concerned about. Many dental products like whitening products and materials for example.

Jan 08, 2014
7:16 PM

Knickers! I’ll take some formaldehyde free knickers!!!

Jan 08, 2014
6:52 PM

I already wash everything before use and have to force my husband’s daughters to do the same. Especially underwear. The idea of those chemicals coming into direct contact with our skin gives me shudders!

I’d love to win the underwear, I have a friend who is extremely chemical sensitive. Anything I could do to help her would feel great to me.

Jan 08, 2014
6:27 PM

Do the not use formaldehyde in bakers bread too?

Jan 08, 2014
5:19 PM

Fabric is loaded with chemicals. As a quilter I would like to know more about how to protect myself and those I make quilts for from these harmful chemicals. Had made several soft flannel bany quilts until I realized the flame retardent chemical on glannel is carcinogenic. Wrap a new born in cancer causing flannel.

Jan 08, 2014
5:17 PM

That is crazy! I was so happy to find no-iron shirts for my husband, but now I will no longer let him wear these! It’s back to ironing for me!! Iron and be healthy. I have started washing anything that is new…clothes, sheets, towels, etc.

Jan 08, 2014
5:08 PM

In my brief career as an analytical chemist I spent days up to my elbows in formaldehyde. Fifty years later — no problem, except I can’t smell formaldehyde.

Jan 08, 2014
4:57 PM

The worst offenders are shirts with special adhesive treatments such as decals or decoration. And they are right under your nose!

Jan 08, 2014
4:52 PM

Great to know!

Jan 08, 2014
4:22 PM

Thanks for the eye opening information

Jan 08, 2014
4:18 PM

I recently bought a scarf, it was multi coloured and smelled quite a bit like chemicals when I bought it. I washed it three times before I wore it and still got a headache and felt very dizzy. I haven’t worn it since.

Jan 08, 2014
4:11 PM

This is interesting. Thank you for sharing!

Jan 08, 2014
3:38 PM

I knew this, and avoid no-iron fabrics, wash new sheets/towels etc when brought home, but didn’t realize it was so pervasive.

Heck, it used to be in toothpaste too. Not winning.

Jan 08, 2014
3:34 PM

I never realized that there was formaldehyde in clothes. I just saw a video about Bud Nip that is used on vegetable crops and it’s affects. We as consumers really need to start taking responsibility and be better consumers and not just make purchases based on price. We already have so many things, maybe it’s time we go back to the days where instead of spending money on cheap clothing and having the latest technology device, we start spending money on organic groceries ( or even better growing our own if we have the time) and buying clothes from natural material that are not made overseas for a couples pennies. Therefore instead of having tons of cheap outfits, you live within your means and live healthfully.

Jan 08, 2014
3:25 PM

I always wash new clothing and put vinegar in the cycle. Are there companies that don’t use formaldehyde? Thanks for the info…knowledge is empowering!

Jan 08, 2014
3:20 PM

Thank you for this information I have shared it with my clients ( Naturopathy) on facebook.

Jan 08, 2014
3:17 PM

I read that a few years back, but got a little lazy. Thanks so much for reminding me about the dangers. I’m going to start washing ALL my new clothes and sheets again before using them. Have a Healthy Day!

Jan 08, 2014
3:04 PM

I think terrible too are the flame retardants in children’s pjs…organic clothing is always better if possible/affordable. Or used would be better too? Organic sheets are also important since we spend so much time in bed!

Jan 08, 2014
2:56 PM

I buy a lot of used clothing so it has been washed a lot. I hope that washes out the chemicals.

Jan 08, 2014
2:52 PM

I had no idea about this. Thanks for the valuable information

Jan 08, 2014
11:27 AM

Dr Oz? That’s exciting! Good luck! :)

Jan 08, 2014
11:11 AM

I find that dark coloured fabric like denim, brightly coloured underwear and work clothes often reek when new. Sometimes I don’t have the option not to use them, so I wash them for a long time with natural soap, then add vinegar to the rinse cycle. This removes most of the chemical smell the first time. By the second wash, I can’t usually tell. Upholstery fabric, throw rugs, my neighbour’s perfumed fabric softeners, new mattresses and standard news print really bother me. My mouth burns for about 5 hours after I’m near them. I try to spit and eat strong flavours, all to no avail.

Jan 08, 2014
9:15 AM

really good to know — thanks!

Jan 08, 2014
9:09 AM

I love that Dr. Oz is embracing your knowledge and is giving you a large audience to share the dangers. Excellent. You GO girl!

Jan 08, 2014
8:49 AM

Great info! Love Nicole Bridger!

Jan 08, 2014
6:26 AM

great information! thank you…

Jan 08, 2014
2:31 AM

Does organic clothing never contain formaldehyde? (and while we are on the topic, does it even contain flame retardants?)

Jan 08, 2014
1:23 AM

I actually had to return clothing from Ricki’s that smelled like chemicals — I thought it had been dry cleaned but it was brand new! I definitely will watch out for that smell again. Didn’t know it could be formaldehyde! Are there certain countries of origin we should avoid on the label where they tend to use formaldehyde on clothing? I look forward to seeing you on Dr. Oz!!

Jan 07, 2014
9:33 PM

I don’t even want to lay on my sheets! I’m going to buy new ones tomorrow.

Jan 07, 2014
9:25 PM

Thank you!

Jan 07, 2014
7:55 PM

I’m really glad you’re talking about this. I’ve often put clothes back at stores because of the chemical smell, but I didn’t know what it was.

Jan 07, 2014
6:37 PM

At Christmas my boys received a pair of new pyjamas. I read the label and saw that they were fire repellant! Yuck! Who wants to put fire retardant treated clothes on their kids!

Jan 07, 2014
6:36 PM

Wow, never thought of this. I’m interested in living a greener lifestyle, may as well start with my underwear!

Jan 07, 2014
5:59 PM

Wow — I seem to learn something new every day — thanks for the info!

Jan 07, 2014
5:28 PM

I have been looking for organic cotton clothes forever and I am at a lost so therefore I do not buy clothes, my clothes is so old when they use to make it 100% cotton, now I do not trust the industries that make the clothes. I browse internet often to find and to no avail, please send me info on where to buy. i am desperate for new underwears. Thank you.

Jan 07, 2014
4:35 PM

Ahhh, so that explains the “new clothes smell.” It always has made my head feel a bit funny. Good to know!

Jan 07, 2014
3:48 PM

I had no idea, thank you for bringing this up!!! I’ve never bought wrinkle free clothes, it just seemed unnatural,

Jan 07, 2014
3:40 PM

Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. I will never buy wrinkle-free clothing again. I recently bought some underwear that had an odd smell but I kept them. I’m sorry I did. Only organic from now on.

Jan 07, 2014
3:19 PM

There’s formaldehyde in my underwear?

Jan 07, 2014
2:45 PM

Love your posts! Useful information that doesn’t require tons of effor or ingredients to implement. It makes being green easier.

Jan 07, 2014
2:32 PM

How can we learn more about brands who use this/don’t use this in their products?

Jan 07, 2014
2:31 PM

how can we learn more about if a company or fabric is using this/not using this in their process?

Jan 07, 2014
1:40 PM

Really appreciate that you are addressing this.

Jan 07, 2014
1:32 PM

Wow Dr. Oz! That very exciting. Congratulations!

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