Textile Production : Gov’t Prohibits Use Of Toxic Chemicals

Some five chemicals used in textile production in the country have been prohibited by the government. The decision was made public recently by the Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development, Gabriel Dodo Ndoke. The order equally applies to textile products imported into the country. The textile products concerned are loincloths and household linens.

The forbidden chemicals – azo dyes (used in colouring), formaldehyde (used in making many household products), alkyl phenol (widely used as industrial surfactants), phthalates (mainly used as plasticizers), and heavy metals (lead) – have huge negative impact on consumers’ health as well as the environment, the Minister noted.

The Minister has called for the strict respect of the prohibition which specifically concerns textile production and processing companies, importers and retailers. Officials in charge of fraud and repression, as well as quality control have been charged to see into it that the order is strictly respected. “Any offender of this regulation will face sanctions provided for by the law in force,” Minister Ndoke warned economic operators who shall distribute non-compliant products anywhere in the country.

Contacted by Cameroon Tribune to comment of the development, the country’s largest cotton producer – CICAM – said it has been respecting industry best practices. “We have been in the market for the past 51 years and we know what is right. The recent decision doesn’t really concern us because we hold standards in high esteem,” Njoh Nicolas, Commercial Director at CICAM said, without commenting further.

The Organic Trade Association notes that cotton; the main raw material for the textile industry, is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health. Cotton covers 2.5 per cent of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16 per cent of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop.

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