Chemical company Archroma has introduced Denisol Pure Indigo 30, an aniline-free* denim indigo dye. The company reports the new dye provides a nontoxic way to produce the traditional blue that consumers associate with denim. Currently, aniline impurities are an unavoidable element of producing indigo-dyed denim, but with its new product, aniline is locked into the indigo pigment during the dyeing process and therefore cannot be washed off the fabric, the company reports.
The company says testing has shown aniline impurities are toxic to humans, causing skin allergies, damage to major organs and genetic defects, as well as being linked to cancer. Aniline is also toxic to aquatic life, which is an issue, as two-thirds of the 400 metric tons of aniline waste on an annual basis ends up in the environment as wastewater discharge. Given these issues, the chemical is starting to feature on the restricted substance lists of some clothing brands and retailers.
In response, Archroma has developed this alternative system. “By removing a hazardous impurity from the denim supply chain, we aim to protect the workers who create denim, the consumers who wear denim, and the environment with cleaner waterways,” said Alexander Wessels, CEO of Archroma.
The company reports a successful color test of Denisol Pure Indigo 30 at the Absolute Denim mill in Thailand. The new dye will be produced in the Archroma facility in Pakistan, a plant that has been touted as having zero liquid discharge.
Archroma produces chemicals for spinning, pretreatment, dyeing, coating and finishing, and wash-down effects for denim.
*Below limits of detection