Chemicals in textiles : A potential source for human exposure and environmental pollution

Sammanfattning: The wide use of chemicals in textile production is common knowledge, whilst very little has been done to disclose the potentially harmful compounds hiding in our closet. The initial part of this work focused on explorative screening of textile materials in common clothing. Non-targeted analysis of a set of sixty garments revealed the presence of thousands of compounds, among which over a hundred were tentatively identified. Depending on the frequency of occurrence in textile, skin penetrating properties and toxicological data, candidate compounds were selected for confirmation. Analytical methods were developed for their identification and quantification, with focus set on four groups of compounds: quinolines, benzothiazoles, benzotriazoles and aromatic amines. The analytical methods are based on ultrasonic extraction, followed by solid phase clean-up, combined with GC/MS or LC/MS/MS analysis. Concentrations of many target analytes were notably higher in polyester samples compared to garments made from cotton and blended material. The release during washing was investigated for two of the compounds groups, quinolines and benzothiazoles. The decreased concentrations in the garments suggest that laundry is a source of emission of these chemicals into household wastewater, and possibly further into the aquatic environment. Due to the slow decrease of the concentration in the garments when washed, substantial amounts of the compounds will remain in the textiles for a long time, with the possibility of exposure to the skin of potential harmful compounds as a result.