SGS Consumer Testing Services, Fairfield, N.J. has added azo dye testing to its U.S. textile
testing services. The new capabilities will reduce testing lead time for U.S. retailers, buyers and
manufacturers and help U.S. finishers and converters meet demands for shortened production cycles.
Azo dyes produce bright, high-intensity colors, have fair to good fastness properties, are
economical to produce and account for more than half of all commercial dyes used. Depending on
other chemical features, they are categorized according to the fibers for which they have an
affinity or their application methods.
The dyes have aroused concern because carcinogenic aromatic amines used in producing the
dyes may be released from a finished textile by perspiration or saliva, causing health risks from
skin contact or ingestion. Azo dyes may contain any of more than 20 carcinogenic amines listed
under California’s Proposition 65 requiring the state to publish a list of chemicals known to cause
cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These carcinogens have been banned in China,
Japan, India, Vietnam, and the European Union; and a variety of products including T-shirts, denim
jeans, scarves, dresses, hats and bed linens have been included in azo dye-related product recalls
and other enforcement actions.
“Most retailers and brands recognize the need to be aware of increasing restrictions on
toxic chemicals for their products in the global markets they sell,” said Sanjeev Gandhi, global
technical director, Consumer Products, SGS Consumer Testing Services. “For textile products, a key
area of concern is azo dyes. Being able to source necessary testing from a U.S. company both
streamlines and simplifies the process of protecting yourself from enforcement action that can
damage your brand and result in a loss of sales.”