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Laundered shop towels pose no health risk to workers

March 6, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, VA — A scientific study released today by ARCADIS, an international research firm specializing in environment issues, found no evidence that laundered reusable shop towels pose any health risk to workers, according to a press release.

trsa logoThe study refutes previously published reports by the disposables industry used to frighten workers who use shop towels to perform their jobs, claiming that residues imbedded in laundered reusable shop towels pose a health risk despite decades of use without any reported issues, the release stated.

"As the trade association representing facilities that process laundered reusable shop towels, we felt we had an industry responsibility to conduct a health assessment to quantify if any real health risk existed. This study reconfirms decades of experience, that laundered reusable shop towels are not only safe but are the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable option," said Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Ricci, CAE.

According to the release, the ARCADIS study collected laundered reusable shop towels from 10 different laundering companies and facilities, measuring residue leachability to conduct a quantitative health risk assessment; towels were then incubated in synthetic human sweat to represent the releasable quantity of each residue that could be transferred to workers' hands from laundered reusable shop towels.

The study's findings indicate that residues including metals in laundered reusable shop towels do not present any health hazard to workers using the towels with exposure levels typically 100 or more times lower than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acceptable levels, the release noted.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.