India Removes China from Azo Dye Test Exemption List for Imported Textiles


Azo dyes constitute the largest group of dyes used in the textile industry, accounting for approximately 70% of all dyes employed in textile production ¹. However, certain azo dyes possess significant toxicity to both human health and the environment. Numerous studies have shed light on the adverse dermatological and toxicological effects of azo dyes on human health ⁵. These dyes have been identified as carcinogenic and mutagenic, capable of causing DNA damage ⁴. Furthermore, some azo dyes may contain carcinogenic amines listed under California’s Proposition 65 ³ .


India’s Move to Protect Consumers and the Environment

Recognizing the potential risks associated with azo dyes, India has taken a significant step toward safeguarding consumer health and environmental well-being. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has revised the exemption list for azo dye tests on imported textiles, thereby removing China from the list.


Implications for Indian Importers

While this measure is seen as a positive health initiative, it may pose challenges for Indian importers who rely heavily on textile imports from China. In 2022 alone, India imported fabric worth $1,083.090 million, fibre valued at $254.159 million, yarn costing $1,359.584 million, and apparel worth $350.238 million from China ².


Increased Costs and Delays

The exclusion of China from the exemption list implies that imported textiles from China will now be subjected to testing for the presence of azo dyes. This non-tariff barrier, enforced by the DGFT, may lead to shipment delays and additional costs for Indian importers.


Expanded Exemption List

According to the notification issued by the DGFT, the updated exemption list now includes countries from the European Union (EU), as well as Serbia, Poland, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. Textiles imported from these countries are not required to undergo testing for the presence of azo dyes .


Health and Environmental Concerns

Azo dyes, as synthetically produced organic dyes, are recognized as potentially hazardous to health. The implementation of testing for the presence of these dyes in imported textiles aims to protect consumers and the environment from their potential dangers ⁵. It is important to note that these dyes have been associated with various adverse effects, including their carcinogenic and mutagenic properties⁴ .



India’s decision to remove China from the azo dye test exemption list for imported textiles reflects a significant step toward protecting consumer health and the environment. While this move may present challenges for Indian importers in terms of increased costs and delays, the industry perceives it as a positive health initiative. By enforcing these tests, India aims to ensure the safety and well-being of its consumers, acknowledging the potential risks associated with certain azo dyes.



1. Balapure, K., Bhatt, R., & Jain, R. (2015). Azo Dyes: Synthesis, Characterization, and Their Environmental Applications. International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, 6(5), 376-381.

2. Fibre2Fashion. (n.d.). India Import Statistics for Textiles 2022. Retrieved from[–288254-newsdetails.htm]

3. Rawat, S., Gupta, P., Maurya, P., & Jaiswal, S. (2016). Toxicological Implications of Azo Dyes on Human Health. International Journal of Environmental Health Engineering, 5, 3.

4. Samchetshabam, P., Jayaprakash, N. S., & Chandrasekaran, S. (2017). A Review on Environmental and Health Impacts of Azodyes. Journal of Environment and Health Science, 3(3), 2346-2366.

5. Tang, Z., Zhang, H., Zhang, Y., & Han, J. (2018). Research Progress on Toxicity and Molecular Mechanism of Azo Dyes. Chemosphere, 202, 325-332.


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