At Baby Blanks we’re serious about social responsibility in our manufacturing of blank baby and children’s clothing. It’s something we continually work towards improving. Part of being socially responsible is being transparent with our customers about how we manufacture our ethical children’s clothing, and how we are meeting industry standards. Recently we sent a sample of our clothes to be tested for their chemical content. This was specifically about testing for the presence of harmful chemicals that are contained in AZO dyes.
Given a lot of the media hype about harmful chemicals, I thought it would be helpful to first provide a bit of background about AZO dye. So...here goes the technical stuff..
AZO dyes are synthetic dyes used widely in food, clothing, cosmetics, textiles, carpet and leather goods. AZO dyes can release aromatic amines (AAs), which have been found to be carcinogenic. When these come in contact with the skin, they can be absorbed into the blood stream.
It is important to know that not all AZO dyes are harmful. There are at least 22 AAs that are known to be carcinogenic.
The topic of AZO dyes has been in the news in recent years, with stories about a variety of clothing and home goods being pulled from Australian retailer shelves after they were found to contain carcinogenic AZO dye. This occurred following widespread ACCC testing of goods on the Australian market. Jeans, bed linen and jackets were just some of the items that were recalled from retailers.
AZO dyes are banned in manufacturing in Australia, but may be contained in clothing and textiles that are imported from overseas. At the moment there are no laws directly prohibiting the sale of imported products with AZO dyes.
According to the ACCC the use of AZO dyes in products in Australia is not widespread. They estimate that about 3% of products are non compliant. Most suppliers are doing the right thing and are taking it upon themselves to check through their overseas manufacturers that their goods do not contain these carcinogenic dyes.
Consumers, however, are still reliant upon suppliers checking with their overseas manufacturers to make sure their goods are safe.
As an Australian company who manufactures kids and baby clothes in China, we feel that we have an obligation to allay any possible concerns our customers may have about the possible presence of AZO dyes in our products.
The environmental safety of our clothing is an important part of our quality control process. Baby Blanks manufacturing standards do not allow the use of harmful AZO dyes in any Baby Blanks clothing. To maintain transparency, however and be able to report our results, we sent samples of our clothing to AWTA lab in Melbourne to be tested.
We received our results from AWTA and are pleased to report that:
No evidence of any harmful carcinogenic chemicals associated with the use of synthetic AZO dyes was found in our samples. Baby Blanks received a N/D (Nil detected) status against each of the 24 chemicals tested for.
Baby Blanks clothing was tested for the presence of the following 24 harmful aromatic amines (AAs):
Many of our recurring customers and anyone who keeps up with our blog knows something of the journey we’ve been on, as an Australian family business manufacturing overseas in China – including our recent trip to visit the factory manufacturing our wholesale clothing. Our journey to manufacture outside Australia, hasn’t been without its challenges.
There are lots of negative associations with manufacturing in China or anywhere overseas – and for good reason. The image of sweatshops and environmental pollution is the ugly side off an opportunistic industry that is frequently focused on cheap, fast-fashion.
But at Baby Blanks we’re committed to doing things differently. Like a lot of ethically minded Australian companies, we feel we have little choice about where we manufacture, but we do have a choice over the way we do it, the quality of our product and the impact we have on the environment and people we work with. Not to mention the health and safety of our customers.
Having our clothing tested for AZO dye and being able to report back to our customers, is just another small step Baby Blanks is taking in its commitment to manufacturing safely and being socially responsible.
As much as possible we want to be known as an ethically made clothing company, manufacturing ethical children’s clothes. If you would like more information on our testing, please contact us.
We love hearing from you. Please let us know your thoughts or experience with the use of AZO dye in products.