I thought I’d share this with you since many of our garments come from companies in Dubai.
Carcinogens Found in Some Abayas
By Nina Muslim, Staff Reporter
Dubai: Some abayas and shailahs on the market have been found to contain high-levels of cancer-causing properties, Gulf News has learnt.
These items of clothing constitute traditional female dress.
An ongoing study at the Dubai Central Laboratory (DCL) on abayas, the traditional black robe, and shailahs, the scarf that covers the head, as well as other apparel, found heavy metals and carcinogens in the dyes and chemicals used to help prints adhere to the material.
Sofia Kazim, a lab technician at DCL, told Gulf News that the laboratory has been testing dozens of materials for carcinogenic elements in the dyes and chemicals.
“We did the project on abayas and shailahs and some failed the test in February,” she said.
She said the laboratory tested 18 pieces of shailahs and a number of abayas. All pieces were selected randomly and are available on the market.
The laboratory tested the materials by putting them through the same environmental conditions as they would be exposed to if worn by a person. They also tested how the chemicals would be absorbed by the body.
“We found some have heavy metals that are over the limit, especially the type of shailahs worn by older women, which has a cottony feel to it,” Sofia said.
She also said not all abayas and shailahs available in the market were carcinogenic, as the tests also found several that were safe and within the limits.
Dr Sawsan Al Mahdi, President of the Friends of Cancer Patients Society, was intrigued by the findings.
“It’s very interesting. We’ve always educated people on what to eat, to exercise, to stop smoking, but we’ve never considered what we wear,” she said.
It is unclear what the authorities will do with the findings.
Dr Fareed Khalifa, head of oncology at Dubai Hospital, told Gulf News the UAE did not have laws addressing hazardous chemicals used in textiles.
Certain synthetic dyes pose cancer risk
Some synthetic dyes have been linked to cancer, including testicular and bladder cancer, and leukaemia.
The World Health Organisation has listed several dyes used in the textile industry as carcinogenic, including any dyes with a benzidine base, including Direct Blue 6, Direct Black 38 and Direct Brown 95, which have been banned in the US and the EU. More than 1,000 dyes are on the list, ranging from “definite” to “probable” to “unlikely carcinogen”.
Is there a lack of public awareness on carcinogens present in items of everyday use? What precautions do you take to reduce the presence of carcinogenic materials around you?