Tagless labels and latex allergies

From Esther comes this word of warning. She describes a situation in which her niece had a bad reaction to those tagless labels. I don’t know if she updated the entry but in a private email, she said:

My sister sent me an update on the problem. It appears that the re-formulated paints may include latex tainted paint, similar to silk screen paint. My niece had another reaction even worse than previous because her entire back flared up red. The pediatrician suggested my niece now has a latex allergy and possible nickel allergy. Latex allergies can develop over time with multiple exposures.

There’s a photo of her niece’s back on site. It’s not a mere reddening of the skin or a rash but looks quite painful. Just something to consider if you use those iron on tags.

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  1. Esther says:

    It is stressful. The big baby brands like Carter’s, Gerber’s, and many private label brands now use the tagless label. My sister can’t find replacement items and is now making clothes or covering the labels with fabric.

  2. Anne says:

    Poor baby! I was interested in using those tags for the comfort factor, but couldn’t find any that didn’t use chemicals*, so I stuck with organic cotton tags. The downside to those is that they wrinkle when you wash them, but they aren’t otherwise scratchy.

    *Avery-Dennison makes an ECO heat transfer tag, which they say contains no harmful substances, but they don’t sell in quantities I could use. A big company like Carter’s could, though. If this tag exists, why wouldn’t all the big companies use it?

  3. Christina says:

    Remember that companies can claim that anything is free of harmful substances/natural. If they don’t define what they don’t include, then consider it a lame marketing ploy. And latex is all-natural. Allergists insist that all allergic reactions can only be caused by proteins, and anything that is biological in origin probably has proteins in it and thus can cause allergic reactions. If something is chemical in origin, it should be protein-free and thus allergen-free (though people with allergies can also react to VOCs–volatile organic compounds–which basically means anything airborne that contains the element carbon in its chemical makeup, and petroleum-based products emit huge amounts of VOCs.)

    So don’t believe a word that some salesperson who probably flunked high school science (if they even took the class) tells you–do your own thinking and your own research!

  4. If it doesn’t have “chemicals” in it, what is it made of? Light? Dark matter? Living organisms?

    All matter – including ourselves – is composed of chemicals. If someone is telling you that a physical object is chemical-free, you need to ask them which particular chemicals they are thinking of.

  5. Barb Taylorr says:

    Don’t you think that if we start having government regulations prohibiting products for every know allergy that pretty soon there’d be nothing left to sell? I know that latex allergies are very serious. I have a good friend with one, and she cannot even enter a building if there are balloons anywhere in it, because latex dust can be distributed through the ventilation system & cause her serious breathing problems! But does that mean that balloons be completely banned in the USA? Maybe some of you think they should. What about latex gloves for workers in the food industry? What about all the other allergies out there? Where would it end?

    I believe that rather than pulling all tagless labels from the shelves it would be better to just require a warning sticker. Companies that did not want to limit their customer base would use a different label. More importantly, the AMA should tell doctors to make darn sure that any patient with a latex allergy be made aware of the potential problem.

  6. Million says:

    This is no joke! I am not allergic to latex, but I have other allergies and it’s not fun!

    I will stick to using regular woven labels in the clothing I make.

  7. Reid says:

    Any idea what percentage of people this might affect? I developing a number of base-layer programs for outdoor and athletic uses, and in that circumstance, It would need to be a significant percentage of people affected (i.e. at least 5%) for me to consider making the change. The presence of a woven label would generally be perceived as a spot for chaffing in activewear applications.


    • Becky says:

      Athletic clothes are getting extremely difficult to find without the printed labels. I have this problem and struggle finding clothes especially athletic wear.

  8. I agree with others who said the tagless labels shouldn’t be banned even though some people are allergic to latex. A lot of people are allergic to peanuts (ad infinitum) but we don’t ban those. Rather, ingredients lists must include peanuts if any portion of the product or by product is included. Perhaps one could include a cautionary note on the hang tag for people sensitive to latex.

    I hate sew in labels personally and cut them out before I ever put the garment on. Any label feels like a scapel or razor blade skimming my upper back or neck. I also have a sensitivity to latex but nothing like Esther’s niece. It isn’t pronounced enough that I would not buy a product with a latex label. Either way, it makes no difference to me really. If the manufacturer would prefer their information is retained in the garment then tagless it should be. Whatever form of tagless, there’s several kinds including direct screen printing.

    Any idea what percentage of people this might affect?

    I just googled it.

    • Michelle Taylor says:

      Yes, just put info on the tags like prices. Latex allergy here and most printed tags get the whole top of my back rashly and itchy. I have to wear clothes with inner printed labels inside out. This works okay for under clothes but looks odd for outer clothes. Sewnnin tags are fine as long as they don’t have that gold lame type itchy material. And, of course, one can always simply cut them out, but you are stuck with the printed ones. I mean, it’s a great idea if they could be latex free, but unless it says that, I’m afraid to try them.

  9. cdbehrle says:

    That rash is horrible, but what’s mind boggling to me is that CPSA seems so bizarrely bogged down in issues that would seem to translate to almost impossible hazards (beyond choking in the case of the bicycle tire valve- lead certainly should not be the issue there) They have completely lost sight of practical reality it seems. You would hope that someone at CPSA would realize that you can’t protect everybody from everything (Nor should you). But you could take steps to protect them from what they would not otherwise even consider – like allergies from iron on labels, by enforcing at least warning that such allergies are known to exist and can be set off by some of these lables.
    Lead in the balls of an ink pen? Please, any responsible parent would have that ink pen out of a kids mouth well before the kid could ingest one, let alone enough of them to cause lead poisoning. Where is the common sense here?

  10. Victoria says:

    There are other options to the latex/acrylic based tagless label. A digital or pad printer could be considered. The ink is water soluble, permanent when heat set. Of course, it has a chemical makeup as well, so I am guessing there would be a small percentage that could have an allergic reaction. The cost…depending on quantity, should compare to that of a woven label (dependent upon quality) or less.

    There are many upsides to the digital application…One being that for the most part it does not change the surface of the fabric…no rough edges or raised surfaces to irritate the skin.

    My 2 cents.

  11. Natalie Hennekam says:

    Oh that poor child.
    Just goes to show how important it is to really do your homework on these things.
    I agree that banning these sorts of labels is not the solution. However it is a bizarre situation where we are required by law to have content labels so people can make informed decisions about what they are putting on their bodies (as we should be); yet there is no requirement to disclose what the tag itself is made of.

  12. Hellen Liu says:

    almost all the tagless labels are made of chemicals.that’s the fact.the key point is the percentage of chemical element it contains,the more it is ,the harmful will be .if PVC and latex are not excluded , it’s easy to cause allergy for human skin. that’s why it cause rashes and latex allergies.

    tagless label is a fashion trend .if we want to use tagless labels in the future,it’s important to choose no glue-edge and water-soluble heat transfer labels.if the material adopt water-soluble one ,and can bear certain washing test ,that will be better .

    for more details ,contact me visa email :sales@tagless.hk

  13. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    Poor baby! I’ve recently dealt with an outbreak of eczema, which I never had before, so I know how she feels!

    It sucks there are so many allergic reactions to things. One reason is toxic carpet outgassing–people have carpet put in and since they’re exposed to the chemicals for so much time every day, they feel worse and worse. Then when they are exposed to other things in other places, they have more reactions. Sometimes removing the carpet and being careful where you go doesn’t “cure” you. Another reason is that so many foods and other agricultural products have so many additives and crud in them. And we keep eating them, building up more chemicals that way.

  14. Hellen says:

    The rash is really horrible .Carter’s caused the same allergic problem several years ago.the main reason for causing the rash on the skin is that the organic solvent still remains on the clothes.

    these tagless label manufacturers use organic-solvent chemical materials ,such as PVC,phthalate, etc. although these organic-soluble materials can meet certain safety standard ,the remain of the harmful elements is unavoidable .

    However , water-soluble material can be cleaned by water .its environmental effect can not be achieved by those organic-soluble material.in January 2009, Avery Dennison group began to adopt this water-soluble material .

    in fact,there are still many organic -solvent tagless labels on the current market. the main defect of these tagless labels is that it has semitransparent glue edge around the label .the glue is not latex but adhesive .

    if others want to buy tagless clothes ,please pay special attention to it .

    you can also look at the news about Carter’s at the following link :


    hope it will help everyone a lot.

  15. Nadia says:

    Highly alleergic to latex. Had bad reaction from Champion double dry socks. Can I sue the Company. there should be a label identifying possible allegens.

  16. Ruth says:

    I too have become allergic to the printed labels. I kept having intense itching with redness in the upper middle of my back. It would keep me awake at night. I finally realized it was caused by the labels. Now that I wear my shirts inside out, I no longer have this problem. I get a lot of comments about my shirt being inside out, though!
    I guess I need to sew cloth over all of the labels, sigh…

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