Exposure to chemicals:
Workers in the textile industry are also exposed to a number of chemicals, especially those engaged in the activities of dyeing, printing and finishing. Chemicals based on benzidine, optical brighteners, solvents and fixatives, crease-resistance agents releasing formaldehyde, flame retardants that include organophosphorus and organobromine compounds and antimicrobial agents are used in textile operations.
Studies have revealed links between exposure to formaldehyde and nasal and lung cancer as well as to brain cancer and leukemia, which can be fatal. In the long run, exposure to formaldehyde could lead to respiratory difficulty and eczema. Contact of the chemicals with skin as well as inhalation of the chemicals can lead to several serious health effects.
A study conducted in USA revealed a correlation between the presence of cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx and occupation in the textile industry. Another study revealed that textile workers were at high risk for developing cancer of the stomach while another study indicated a low degree of correlation between oesophageal cancer and working in the textile industry. Moreover, a high degree of colorectal cancer, thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and nasal cancer was observed among textile workers. Also, a relationship between the presence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and working in the textile industry was observed.
As per a study conducted on 1300 people working in 'tie and dye' units in Jodhpur and neighboring areas, 100 workers were observed to have occupation-related dermatitis. This constituted 7.69% of the total sample. Red RC base and naphthol were observed to be the most common culprits in this regard.