Allergy to jeans? Is it formaldehyde or the dye? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-23-2011, 10:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought a pair of Old Navy jeans and wore them for travelling on a long plane journey without washing them first. I have never done this before, as I have lots of allergies and am usually very careful about laundering new clothes (my known allergies are to latex, nickel, titanium dioxide, perfume and essential oils). When I arrived I had a swollen, red, itchy band on my skin just where the belt was pressing into my stomach. It was extremely painful (that'll teach me!). I assumed it was nickel in the belt buckle. I washed the jeans twice before wearing them again, this time without the belt, and the same thing happened. This time the rash is taking much longer to heal...this is the third day. What can it be? Is it likely to be formaldehyde still in the material after several washings, or the blue dye (the jeans are light blue)? I'm wondering whether I should get some more allergy testing done, as my skin seems generally to be more sensitive (I have eczema).


Any thoughts or info would be much appreciated.

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#2 of 8 Old 08-24-2011, 08:15 AM
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If you hadn't washed them, then sizing could be a problem.  It's like spray starch, and is meant to keep the integrity of the shape suitable for the store.  Formaldehyde (is it in there?) would probably wash out of jeans faster.  If you've never had problems with jeans before, then it's probably not the dye.  Another possibility is that awful antibacterial stuff they put in clothes now.  And though not likely to be on jeans, I know that my dd had a bad reaction to 3m Scotchguard in her new play shoes.

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#3 of 8 Old 08-24-2011, 03:04 PM
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Is there spandex in them? I know a gal that is allergic to the spandex in stretchy jeans.

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#4 of 8 Old 09-27-2011, 11:45 PM
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Would applying nailpolish onto the back of the jean button help? 

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#5 of 8 Old 03-06-2012, 02:06 PM
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I am very allergic to Old Navy jeans. I get terrible hives all over my legs and if my arms come in contact with the jeans, I get hives on them too. The hives are large, red, hot, itchy and painful. I have come to the conclusion that it is indeed the formaldehyde in the jeans. Washing them does not help. At least for me it didn't. I have chemically tested this, but I have been able to wear jeans that do not contain formaldehyde. I have to by clothes made in the USA. I hope this helps you. I wish I knew how to get these jeans and others tested. If this is true, think of the poor workers in the third world countries exposed to this horribly toxic chemical and the young people wearing these jeans and working in the stores. 

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#6 of 8 Old 03-06-2012, 02:07 PM
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I have not* chemically tested this. 

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#7 of 8 Old 12-19-2012, 06:31 PM
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I found this posting while trying to figure why I was allergic to one pair of jeans. I bought a pair of jeans from H&M that had the permanent creases near the pockets on the front and at the knees.


I wore them on a flight and went directly to the beach on a colder day. My skin was itching and burning a bit on the flight, but it intensified while at the beach. I assumed it was the colder weather and possibly sand/salt. When I returned to the hotel, I peeled the jeans off me...not because they were tight, but because they were removing a layer of skin. I had chemical burns all over my legs, anywhere that was in contact with the jeans. This was AFTER washing the jeans. I washed them several times after that and still continued to have problems. I assumed it was the dye, although I've never had an issue with other jeans. I even thought that maybe there was nickle in the dye because I do have a terrible nickle allergy. My only solution was to not wear the jeans. I still have no idea why I had so many issues with that particular pair. They were made in China. I know I'm not adding any advice, but just know that there must be more people out there having these issues.

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#8 of 8 Old 08-04-2014, 08:35 PM
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I wore brand new "Rockstar - Old Navy Jeans" on Sept 13'2012 and suffered for almost 8 months thereafter. It started as a boil around the button area, dug deep into my skin and wouldn't heal for almost 8 months. I suffered a very bad permanent scar and one of the most respected Plastic Surgeon from UofT advised me that he has never seen anything like it. After reading a lot of complaints on Old Navy Jeans and in one of them the Customer Service Manager admitted to the Jeans having Formaldehyde i think it is the cause. I am in the process of having the jeans tested for Formaldehyde and if any one of you is interested to complain jointly because if we dont then they will continue to harm us slowly and silently and making money from us, then please send me an email with your name and tel number at : and I will draft a complaint letter to the President of Old Navy and we take it up from there. Please include whether it is yourself or your kids who were harmed in the process of wearing Old Navy clothes.

Thank you.
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