There are a variety of toxins that can be found in fabrics and clothing, some of which can be harmful to our health. It's important to be aware of these toxins and the potential risks they pose, as well as the steps we can take to reduce our exposure to them.
Here are some of the most common toxins found in fabrics and clothing, as well as some tips on how to choose healthier fabrics to wear:
Formaldehyde is a chemical used in the production of many types of clothing and fabrics. It is used to fix dye, prevent shrinking, and reduce wrinkling. It can be found in wrinkle-resistant and permanent-press clothing, as well as in some bedding and towels
Exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, as well as more serious health issues such as cancer.
Formaldehyde is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. To avoid formaldehyde, look for clothes that are labelled "formaldehyde-free" or made from natural fibres such as cotton, wool, or silk.
Many conventional cotton crops are sprayed with pesticides, which can remain on the fabric even after it has been processed into clothing. Pesticides can be toxic to humans and have been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer and neurological damage. To avoid pesticides, choose organic cotton or other natural fibres.
3. Flame retardants:
Flame retardants are chemicals that are added to fabrics to make them less flammable. However, these chemicals can be toxic and have been linked to a number of health problems, including hormonal disruption and cancer. To avoid flame retardants, look for natural fibres such as wool, which are naturally flame-resistant.
4. Synthetic fibres:
Synthetic fibres such as polyester, nylon, and spandex are made from petroleum-based chemicals. These fibres can release microfibers into the environment when they are washed, which can have negative impacts on aquatic life and potentially humans. Synthetic fibres can also trap heat and moisture against the skin, leading to irritation and discomfort. To avoid synthetic fibres, choose natural fibres such as cotton, wool, or silk.
Another toxin that can be found in fabrics is a class of chemicals known as phthalates, which are used to make plastics more flexible and are commonly used in the production of synthetic fabrics such as polyester and nylon. Phthalates have been linked to a range of health issues, including hormonal disruption and reproductive problems.
6. Heavy Metals
Heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium, can also be present in fabrics as a result of the dyes and pigments used in their production. These heavy metals can accumulate in the body over time and have been linked to a variety of health problems, including neurological damage and cancer.
Overall, the healthiest fabrics to wear are those that are natural and free from toxins.
Natural fibres such as cotton, wool, linen and silk are generally safer and more comfortable to wear, and choosing organic versions of these fibres can further reduce your exposure to toxins.
It's also a good idea to wash new clothes before wearing them, as this can help to remove any chemicals that may have been used in their production.
By paying attention to the materials and chemicals used in your clothing, you can make healthier choices for your body and the environment.