Fairfield, N.J.-based SGS Consumer Testing Services — a global provider of certification,
inspection, testing and verification services, and a division of Geneva-based SGS S.A. — has added
azo dye testing to its U.S. textile testing services. The company’s new capabilities will reduce
testing lead time for U.S. retailers, buyers and manufacturers, as they no longer will have to send
products destined for global markets to overseas testing labs; and the domestic testing service
will help U.S. finishers and converters meet demands for shortened production cycles.
Azo dyes are synthetic organic colorants whose molecular structures include an azo group.
They produce a wide range of bright, high-intensity colors, have fair to good fastness properties,
are cost-effective to manufacture and currently account for more than half of all commercial dyes
used. Depending on other chemical features, azo dyes 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 such as benzidine that are
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 — which requires the state to publish
a list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. These
carcinogens already have been banned in countries including 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.”
August 2, 2011