Permethrin treated clothing: everything it’s not
I spy with my little eye something beginning with … and then nothing. Permethrin finishes, effective as they may be, are invisible. And despite what you might think, their effect on your textiles is close to zero. There are many myths about the possible side effects of permethrin on fabric quality and our health. No big surprise. Permethrin is a chemical formulation, and people do not particularly like chemicals. In the case of permethrin, however, we should reconsider our preconceptions. Here is why.
Myth #1. Permethrin is dangerous
When a child swallows laundry detergent, it should be taken to the hospital right away. In general, chemicals are dangerous to our health and should be handled with great care. Permethrin is the exception to this rule. When you swallow permethrin, your body knows exactly what to do. Warm blooded creatures have an enzyme that breaks down the substance long before it can do any damage. Tests show that permethrin does not even make it to our bladder! Our skin barely absorbs permethrin, and forms a natural protection shield as well. So, no matter how you try to poison someone with your permethrin treated clothing: you will not succeed. Poisoning your friend’s cat with permethrin is possible, though. Cats are the only mammals that do not have the enzyme that is needed to break down permethrin. Keep your permethrin treated clothing away from them -that is, the ones you like- and you will be fine.
Myth #2. Permethrin has a negative impact on product quality
Many chemicals meddle with the structure of your textiles. They turn rigid, stiff, and lose their softness. This influences the quality of your products, which in turn is a problem when you are known for your finely crafted garments. Permethrin does no such thing. It makes mosquitoes, ticks, moth larvae, and all other insects retreat and kills the ones that do not, but it is friendly to fabrics. Permethrin treated clothing does not need any sort of softening treatment, as it feels like is was never treated in the first place. The only way to tell whether a fabric contains permethrin, is to check the label inside. So, if permethrin has a side-effect, it is a positive one. You now have the best of two worlds: high quality products and the best insect proof agent gathered as one.
At the bottom of this page, you can find a simple guide to permethrin treated clothing, labelling and regulation procedures.
Myth #3. Permethrin products have a typical smell
This one is easy. Contrary to insect repellents such as DEET and citronella, Permethrin is odourless. It only smells before it dries, but this will be during the production process only. So far for myth 3…
Myth #4. Permethrin usage comes with complex registration procedures
This is where a lot of people go wrong. Yes, permethrin is a biocide, and should be registered. But when you want to add a permethrin finish to your textiles, your permethrin supplier will do the registration part for you. As long as your products do not have the primary function to repel insects (like mosquito nets), your textiles do not have to be registered as biocides. Your permethrin partner should register for the permethrin product (so e.g. EULAN® SPA 01 or BAYPROTECT® AM) and the active ingredient (permethrin). What you do need, is a label that provides the end-user with information about the permethrin product. In short: there are rules, but with the right permethrin partner, all you need is the right label.
Want to know more about permethrin regulation?
TANATEX Chemicals registered for a permethrin product and its active ingredient. In a separate white paper, we tell you all you need to know about permethrin treated clothing, labelling, and registration procedures.