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Is Oilcloth Toxic?

Dear Andy – I have been on an oilcloth kick these days, ordering yards online for several on going projects because I haven’t been able to locate the fabric locally. Coincidentally, a couple of days ago when I was looking for a notion in my local fabric chain store, another customer asked one of the staff if they sold oilcloth. The staff person said no, and that the reason they no longer sold it was because it was toxic. I was very surprised to hear this information because none of the websites that I had visited mentioned a peep about toxicity. I have even seen products such as placemats and aprons for sale in some big name stores made with the same exact fabrics that I have been purchasing. When I checked online today to see if I could find any more information about this, I came up empty handed. Is there any truth to the statement that I overheard?
Thank You
Sofia

Dear Sophia: The only thing toxic about oilcloth, is that someone would lie about a product. The oilcloth which is available in the current marketplace, is actually a printed vinyl fabric. The Oilcloth that was available 50 years ago, was actually an oiled cloth, usually a woven cotton. That fabric may have been toxic, back in the day, but is currently, to my knowledge, no longer available commercially. Keep buying that new Oilcloth and enjoy all the products made from oilcloth. And pass the word around Maine. Good Luck, Andy

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