Have you ever wondered what chemicals are in your clothes? Do you know what they do to your body? When you wear clothing, not only do you want to make sure it looks good, but you want to know that the materials being used are safe and healthy for you. In order to stay safe and healthy, here are 6 toxic chemicals in clothing you should know about.
Phthalates are a class of chemical softeners and plasticizers. They’re common ingredients in perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, nail polish, soaps, detergents and even children’s toys. Phthalates have been linked to a number of health issues including birth defects.
Not only is chlorine used to bleach our cotton, it’s also toxic to us. It’s a respiratory irritant and even lethal in large quantities. If your clothes smell like chlorine after washing, that means they likely contain synthetic fibers or chemicals that release formaldehyde, which can trigger allergic reactions. Read labels carefully and be wary of anything with fabric softeners, as these are often carcinogenic too.
Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, which means it has been linked to increased cancer risk. Studies have found links between formaldehyde exposure and leukemia, nose and throat cancers. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says there is enough evidence to classify formaldehyde as a human carcinogen. A Consumer Reports study found that some men’s dress shirts contained more than 5 parts per million of formaldehyde—over 500 times higher than what California regulators consider safe for occupational exposure in factories.
4) Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)
PFCs are common chemicals found in outdoor and indoor furniture, cookware, carpeting, clothing, fast food packaging (including microwavable popcorn bags), non-stick pots and pans. These chemicals aren’t only found on products but also contaminate water sources around factories that manufacture these products. PFCs get into human blood from breathing contaminated air, drinking contaminated water or touching PFC-contaminated surfaces.
5) Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs)
These chemicals are used in detergents, paints, cleaners and waxes. They're also found in disposable diapers, surface wipes and as additives to fabric softeners. NPEs easily break down into nonylphenol (NP), which is a hormone disruptor that can cause problems during pregnancy by interfering with fetal development.
6) Flame retardants
Flame retardants are a group of chemicals used to reduce fire risks. However, these chemicals are not just toxic for us but also for environment, and these toxic substances can be found in house dust and even breast milk. The best thing to do is to avoid clothing that contains polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) or other brominated flame retardants. Look for no-flame labels on clothing. Also avoid any clothing that contains foam padding.
All types of fibers that are identified as toxic are on our blacklist. We will never put them into our products as these are neither good for us humans, nor for the environment the fibers eventually return to.
Many companies use toxic chemicals in their clothing manufacturing process, and consumers need to understand the potential dangers of these chemical additives. This blog post provides a brief overview of six harmful chemicals that may be present in the garments they purchase. If a consumer has any doubt as to whether or not a certain garment is toxic, he or she can send it off for testing at an accredited lab.
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