Cancer risk could force jeans, kids clothes and sheets from shelves

Thousands of pairs of jeans, children's clothing and bed sheets could be pulled from store shelves in the coming weeks as fears spread over a carcinogenic clothing dye.

More than 120,000 jeans, pants and shorts have been recalled from stores after they were found to be tainted with a carcinogenic dye that’s banned in Europe and has restricted use in the US.

The use of azo dye, which can ultimately form carcinogenic chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin, is legal in Australia, although from June 1 will be classified as a dangerous poison in the same category as cyanide, strychnine and arsenic.

The ACCC said more than 121,000 ‘‘clothing and manchester’’ items using the chemical had been recalled by various retailers.

The consumer watchdog said had it negotiated a total of eight recalls, comprising 28 product lines from impacted suppliers.

The affected companies are Rivers Australia, Just Jeans, Pillow Talk, Trade Secret, Myer, and Target, the ACCC said on its website.

‘‘Further recalls are possible in coming weeks,’’ the ACCC said

.It said while consumer exposure to hazardous azo dyes was likely to be very low, ‘‘the associated cancer risks give cause for concern’’.

‘‘As a result, exposure to certain azo dyes, including benzidine-based dyes, should be minimised or eliminated,’’ the ACCC said.

Myer has reportedly called on the government to clarify the position regarding the dye

.A Myer spokeswoman told AAP that customers who bought tainted jeans could return them for a full refund.



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