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Study: Reusable Shop Towels Do Not Pose Health Risk to Workers

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Aug. 29, 2014—Workers who routinely use shop towels have no increased health risk above regulatory concerns, according to a recently released study by TRSA, a global textile services trade association.

The study, commissioned by TRSA and conducted by Arcadis U.S., measured heavy metal exposure of 27 different metals in shop towels that had been washed from 10 different laundry facilities.

Though low, measurable levels of several metals were found in the reusable towels, but the amounts detected do not post a concern to worker health, based on the minimal regulatory health standards.

“This study definitively demonstrates reusable shop towels do not put workers at risk,” said Joseph Ricci, TRSA president and CEO. “Prior findings to the contrary used a variety of ad hoc approaches that produced questionable results. Our study uses a methodical, risk assessment model based on a high-­end, reasonable level of towel usage that sets the bar for this type of industry research.” 

The full study is available by contacting TRSA by calling 703.519.0029, ext. 109.

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