Many clothes and materials are being made with synthetic chemicals. And it’s become clear that they can sometimes be toxic or hazardous.
You simply cannot rely on health authorities or corporations to always ensure the safety of these chemicals. Hundreds of chemicals are being used in production processes. And although there are some safety guidelines, it is often unknown what the health effects could be when all the chemicals interact together.
Many of the health concerns are focused on clothes that are treated with chemicals to provide anti-wrinkle, stain-resistant, water-repellent, or flame-retardant features. Chemicals such as tributyl phosphate, dimethyl fumarate, and formaldehyde can cause skin reactions or aggravate asthma.
Polyester-spandex products such as socks and sports bras have been found to contain BPA and phthalates that are linked to hormone disruption. The other issue, is that when these type of clothes are washed, they can release microplastics into the water supply.
Synthetic ‘anti-microbial’ materials are now being widely sold and sometimes contain triclosan and silver nanoparticles that have been associated with thyroid damage and hormonal disruption. Clothes are also regularly being dyed with toxic compounds.
Although the toxic exposure to the body is usually very slight, it is worth buying natural materials to avoid any slow build up of toxins from chronic exposure.
When possible, purchase clothes made from natural materials such as cotton, hemp or wool. The base clothing layers that come into the most contact with skin are most important. So, for example, underwear, socks, leggings or t-shirts.
And you will have to look carefully at labels. I bought a blazer online that was advertised as 100% cotton. But when it arrived, the label said it was mostly made from polyurethane! Many sellers are falsely advertising the materials used in their products.
You have to search out companies who actually care, and they are unfortunately few and far between. But there are some standards and certifications that can provide you assurances of natural materials. For example, look for Bluesign, Oeko-Tex, or GOTS.
I also recommend buying bedding materials, rugs and throws that are made from cotton, wool, kapok or bamboo. Furthermore, natural latex mattresses are normally not treated with fire-retardants.
Wash all clothes and materials before you use them. And I recommend using unscented, eco-friendly laundry detergent.
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