Environmental and Health Effects of Textile Industry Wastewater



The textile production industry is one of the oldest and most technologically complex of all industries. The fundamental strength of this industry flows from its strong production base of a wide range of fibers/yarns from natural fibers like cotton, jute, silk, and wool to synthetic/man-made fibers like polyester, viscose, nylon, and acrylic. With escalating demand for textile products, textile mills and their wastewater have been increasing proportionally, causing a major problem of pollution in the world. Many chemicals used in the textile industry cause environmental and health problems. Among the many chemicals in textile wastewater, dyes are considered important pollutants. Worldwide environmental problems associated with the textile industry are typically those associated with water pollution caused by the discharge of untreated effluent and those because of use of toxic chemicals especially during processing. The effluent is of critical environmental concern since it drastically decreases oxygen concentration due to the presence of hydrosulfides and blocks the passage of light through water body which is detrimental to the water ecosystem. Textile effluent is a cause of significant amount of environmental degradation and human illnesses. About 40 % of globally used colorants contain organically bound chlorine, a known carcinogen. Chemicals evaporate into the air we breathe or are absorbed through our skin; they show up as allergic reactions and may cause harm to children even before birth. Due to this chemical pollution, the normal functioning of cells is disturbed and this, in turn, may cause alteration in the physiology and biochemical mechanisms of animals resulting in impairment of important functions like respiration, osmoregulation, reproduction, and even mortality. Heavy metals, present in textile industry effluent, are not biodegradable; hence, they accumulate in primary organs in the body and over time begin to fester, leading to various symptoms of diseases. Thus, untreated or incompletely treated textile effluent can be harmful to both aquatic and terrestrial life by adversely affecting the natural ecosystem and causing long-term health effects. Environmental hazards and health problems associated with chemicals used in textile industry are discussed in this chapter.


Dyes Effluent Environment Heavy metals Textile industry 



Sana Khan is thankful to the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi for financial assistance in the form of Maulana Azad National Fellowship. Abdul Malik is thankful to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, New Delhi for the DBT CREST award during the preparation of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia
  2. 2.Institute of Biology II, MicrobiologyAlbert-Ludwigs-University FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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