It is both what the yarn is made of AND the chemicals used processing it. Some pretty nasty stuff. The article from Canada was a science/health article, not a fly by night, know it all, and just want to cause trouble article. It was a legitimate piece of research on the breast cancer rate in women, and it was seven times higher among women working with acrylic yarns. Working with as in knitting and crocheting with. I also have been using it for a long time, then I took a long break to knit sock yarn shawls with Merino wool for the women in my church group, made twelve total, so it was a long break from acrylic. I just recently started crocheting with it again and my nose keeps bleeding and I noticed my cuticles were getting really bad. So I started questioning and went searching.
I guess I was looking to see if others had experienced any problems. Perhaps I have developed a sensitivity to it.
My grandmother only used acrylic and she lived to 96! I’m still here at 74.
Myrna Pouyatt wrote:
It is both what the yarn is made of AND the chemic... (
A few people on KP have mentioned reactions to some acrylic yarns usually in particular colors like red but not other colors of the same brand.
Even well researched and truthful articles have to sometimes be taken with a grain of salt. It is always your choice of course, no one will fault you either way. You can probably get many recommendations for yarns from people who are sensitive to acrylics. They do change “recipes” occasionally.
Good luck finding a brand or fiber you are all around happy with.
I haven't read anything about acrylic being harmful. I think there are probably cancer causing components in nearly everything we consume or use. Think about the massive amounts that the test animals must have contact with or consume before they test positive for anything. Transfer that to a human adult size and I don't think that mountain of material lurking over your shoulder could be ingested in sufficient quantities to affect you.
I use all types and weights of yarns. I'm going to use my acrylic for charity and my children until science can provide that magic number of a certain number of knitting hats or scarves will definitely cause me to come down with cancer. Even then, I'd probably question it.
Hello and welcome back! I use a lot of acrylic yarn and so far have not had a problem, I have been knitting and crocheting for many years. Sometimes I do have a problem with cottons, they seem to dry my hands out but never with the acrylics which are cheaper and who doesn’t like a bargain?
I think chemical dyes used on natural fibers are just as harmful. Nothing is completely safe, not even air and water.
I can't wear wool so acrylic or cotton or linen it is. I'm 76. Been knitting since I'm 7, and I'm one of the healthiest people I know. Go for it.
Hi Myrna! Welcome back. I use mostly acrylics yarn too, for decades.
I hope it's safe to use.
Welcome back from Minnesota.
There are a couple of yarns in acrylics that I don't care for. Homespun & Unforgettable. Both shred when I use them.
My favorite is Amazing lace. It is soft.
I recall reading years ago, if it is set on fire the fumes can be toxic. If you don't knit fast enough to set the yarn on fire, I wouldn't concern myself with that.LOL
And, not everything in California is considered toxic. But we are trying to keep our skies blue and our water clean. It is a constant battle for sure. I was born in LA and remember the days the smog was so bad, kids were kept in at recess time. Then an additive to gasoline was introduced, and the skies began to clear up. So, it's a mixed bag.
This is my theory: Most of our air, soil and food is already poisoned. I have a ton (well, almost) of yarn, much of it older acrylic. I'm going to continue to enjoy knitting with my stash. If "they' come out with info on how to remove any suspected carcinogens (like washing, freezing, etc) then I would follow them. Otherwise, knit on!
Welcome from Michigan. I have a friend in Texas, and we are in Indianapolis pretty much every October . . . maybe we could do a meet-up later this year??
Thank you to all for the kind words of encouragement. I will continue to use my acrylic yarns but have decided to only use my very favorite brand. Hobby Lobby's I Love This Yarn, and as I replace the other acrylic yarns, I will replace them with natural fibers. I love Shepard's Wool from Stonehedge Mills in Michigan. Best wool I have ever used, but it requires care, so is not appropriate for blankets and I love to knit and crochet blankets. I may consider trying Stylecraft acrylic yarn, the colors are so yummy but I have never worked with it. I am feeling more confident that working with acrylics won't kill me.