What You Need to Know About Azo Dyes

You must have seen the word azo free plastered all over products but what does it actually mean? More importantly, what is azo dyes? In order to understand what constitutes azo-free dyes, we must first understand what are azo dyes. Dyes that contain synthetic chemicals are grouped into azo colours, these dyes are cheaper and produce intense colours. Some of these dyes could separate when subjected to certain conditions and release carcinogenic & allergenic aromatic amines. Azo dyes are used in almost all products like plastics, food, cosmetics and textiles. Since they have intense pigmentation they are used on all textiles with ease, whether they are natural or artificial and around 70% of commercial textiles employ these dyes. But azo dyes are extremely harmful to the environment and humans. 

According to the “EU Azo Colourant Directive” of 2003 specified aromatic amine-releasing dyes with detectable concentrations are restricted to be applied to all those leather and textile products that come in prolonged or direct contact with the skins of humans. Hence, Azo-free dyes are the preferable option, but many manufacturers escape such mandates to save costs. Azo-free dyes are also known as fibre reactive dyes and are those dyes that do not use heavy metals and artificial products in their chemical makeup. 

Azo-free dyes are beneficial in almost every aspect, these dyes do not pollute water so the water is safely reusable even after the dying process. These low-impact dyes employ special printing techniques. Having a higher absorption rate of almost 70%, negligible water is used in the dying process, making the dye extremely eco-friendly. Many people around the globe are extremely sensitive to nickel (a chemical that is used in generic dyes) and are susceptible to contracting dermatitis as a result of harmful dyes. With Azo-free dyes, they can avoid risking their health altogether. Other diseases like Eczema can also be caused by chemical dyes and it has also been found that women are more prone than men to develop such diseases as a result of chemical dyes. There is no ascertainable safe level of exposure to heavy metals and lead exposure according to WHO and can lead to mental retardation and other behavioural issues in young and weak children. It is important to make Azo-free dyes the norm in the textile industry and not an exception. 

We feel that we are better off than our ancestors who died untimely deaths because of toxic chemicals in their consumer goods. But we are not very different from them as many of us still don’t know about the harmful effects of azo dyes. International associations and unions have taken active steps to ban these dyes and yet several manufacturers around the globe, knowingly and unknowingly, still use azo dyes thanks to unaware consumers. Every aspect of modern life is under intense scrutiny to weed out toxic chemicals from our consumer goods and yet due to lack of knowledge harmful azo dyes persist as viable options in the mind of manufacturers and consumers. Ranging from benign diseases like dermatitis to fatal ones like bladder cancer and others are all a result of the pervasive use of azo dyes in the textile and tanning industry.

Pravaah uses Azo-free dyes in all their products to safeguard the health of our consumers and our workers. Azo-free dyes do not contain harmful compounds like bleach, nitrogen and other heavy metals. Azo-free dyes are directly printed onto the fabric and do not require a mordant (an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material), the use of these dyes uses less water and causes negligible pollution.

The tales of people being surrounded by harmful chemicals in their daily lives have not been relegated to the pages of history, and we are still surrounded by toxic chemicals. Why wait for a rash to make the switch to cleaner and safer solutions? Make an informed decision today and support businesses that make the efforts to promote sustainability and safety. Make an investment today not only for your health but also for the environment and browse all the premium sustainable products that Pravaah has to offer.

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