The “Dirt” on Dirty Shop Towels

Heavy Metals In Shop Towels

What’s in Your Shop Towels?

A new study by Kimberly-Clarke takes a look at just what is “in” those dirty shop towels. The findings may surprise you and really make you think about what remains even after a shop towel has been laundered.  To combat this problem, Weiss Bros. now carries WYPALL WIPERS - providing a clean, fresh towel every time. Trust us…it’s just not worth the risk! Read on to find out more about the study.

Loaded With Heavy Metals

A study conducted by Gradient found the following alarming statistics:

  • Lead, cadmium and antimony can be ingested by workers who use just 2.5 towels per day. (2003)
  • A 2011 study found that “clean” shop towels sampled from 26 different industrial sites were significantly more contaminated with heavy metals than in 2003.
  • The 2011 study found that workers report using an average of 12 towels per day – and may use up to 26 towels per day. The higher the number of towels used, the higher the worker exposure to the metals found in the towels.

Download the Whitepaper (PDF)

Effects of Heavy Metals

Heavy metal residue, found on shop towels can get onto worker hands, and then into the mouth and be swallowed. Here is what some of these metals can do to the body.

  • Beryllium can cause sensitization, lung and skin disease in a significant percentage of exposed workers.***
  • Cadmium and cadmium compounds are known to cause cancer as well as kidney, bone and lung cancer.**
  • Cobalt exposure at high levels can result in lung and heart effects, dermatitis and liver and kidney effects.**
  • Copper when orally ingested may cause nausea, vomiting/diarrhea, liver damage, kidney damage or death.**
  • Lead with long term (chronic) exposure, may result in severe damage to the blood-forming, nervous, urinary, and reproductive systems. Uncontrolled exposure to very high levels in the workplace has resulted in fatalities.**


 Watch & Learn!