Are your Clothes Toxic?

Have you ever stopped to think about what your clothes were made out of and what affect they could be having in your body? Have you thought about what affect these textiles have on the environment, even after production? Furthermore, how do these toxins in the environment then make their way back to humans?

As consumers, we often think that because an item is on a shelf in a store, it must be safe and it mustn’t have had too bad an effect on the environment. This couldn’t be more from the truth. However, as we become more aware of the truth, we are more able to make better choices when shopping, particularly in the fashion industry.

The following are common toxic fibres that we wear:

  • Polyester
  • Acrylic
  • Rayon
  • Acetate and Tracetate
  • Nylon

Synthetic fibres, such as the above mentioned, are treated with chemicals that can have dangerous affects on human bodies. They may be treated with flame retardants and dyed with chemicals that make them more toxic. Common allergic reactions include skin manifestations such as dermatitis or even side effects such nausea, headache, vomiting, chest and muscle pain and insomnia.

Of course, we could just wash our clothes twice before wearing them, but then where are those chemicals going? Are they going into our oceans to the fish that we eat? Are they going into the soils to the food that we grow and eat?

Research in 2011 (University of New South Wales, Australia) found that 85% of human-made debris on shorelines around the world were from microfibers alone. Microfibers are tiny threads shed from synthetic fabrics. Research in 2016 (University of California, Santa Barbra) found that,”on average, synthetic fleece jackets release 1.7 grams of microfibers each wash.” Additionally, “These microfibers then travel to your local wastewater treatment plant, where up to 40% of them enter rivers, lakes and oceans.”

So, seeing as the fashion industry and advertisement do not want to be responsible for the allowing such toxicity to pollute our planet, is it time that the consumer becomes more aware and conscious of the purchases they make?


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