“Sorry, there´s no magic bullet. You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.” ― Morgan Spurlock, “Don’t Eat This Book”
“This product may damage your health”
How about this warning on a clothing label? Can clothing or apparel damage your health? Yes, they can. Let me explain how.
Skin is our largest and most sensitive body organ. Our skin is biggest eliminative organ in body too. If the toxins are not released from your body in a proper way as nature intends, it can result in a health issue. Toxins store in body fat and body organs.
Now name a product that stays on our skin most of the time? You are right. Clothes.
Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN in their book “Killer Clothes” state, “Synthetic-fiber clothing is worn with an illusion of safety but hides invisible chemical and other dangers that clothing manufacturers and much of the world’s health-care industry ignores, or attempts to rationalize away” They further state that when toxins enter the body through the mouth and end up in the intestines, they are channeled by the blood into liver, where detoxification naturally occurs. When toxins are absorbed through the skin, however, they bypass the liver.
Greenpeace’s Toxic thread campaign state’s that a total of 141 items of clothing were purchased in April 2012 in 29 countries and regions worldwide from authorized retailers. The chemicals found included high levels of toxic phthalatesin four of the garments, and cancer-causing amines from the use of certain azo dyes in two garments. Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs) were found in 89 garments (just under two thirds of those tested). In addition, the presence of many other different types of potentially hazardous industrial chemicals was discovered across a number of the products tested. As inherently hazardous substances, any use of NPEs, phthalates, or azo dyes that can release cancer-causing amines, is unacceptable.
DermNet, a New Zealand based trust presents facts about the skin for consumers on their websiteDermNetNZ.org. Run by famous dermatologist, DermNet explains “Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin induced by chemicals that directly damage the skin and by specific sensitivity in the case of allergic contact dermatitis”. Allergic skin reactions to clothing is most often a result of the formaldehyde finishing resins, dyes, glues, chemical additives and tanning agents used in processing the fabric or clothing. Cases of allergic contact dermatitis have been reported because of various fabric additives.
Remember, “What goes on the skin, goes in the skin”.
Below are the chemicals in various clothes and clothing/accessory examples that cause harm to skin:
- Formaldehyde resins used in fabrics to make them wrinkle-resistant.
- Para-phenylenediamine (PPD) used in textile and fur dyes
- Azo and anthraquinone based dispersal dyes. These dyes are loosely bound to the fabric structure and can easily rub off onto the skin. They are rarely used in textiles nowadays
- Flame retardants
- Other contact allergens that may be incorporated into the fabric of clothing and cause contact dermatitis include chrome, cobalt, latex and rubber accelerators.
- Metallic fasteners and elastic in clothing can also cause contact dermatitis where they are in contact with skin. Metallic stud fasteners on blue jeans are a common cause of nickel dermatitis.
- Prickly heat rash, miliaria rubra, develops when workers are not acclimated to hot environments. Fabrics that do not breathe, such as synthetic fabrics, or tight 3 protective clothing, can become soaked with perspiration.
- Plastic or synthetic fibers as acrylic, orlon, polyvinyl resins or spandex are used in diapers, socks and girdles. The irritant may be due to mercaptobenzothiazole causing contact dermatitis, cause from the material itself, the dye or due to the finish of the fabric.
- Spandex is a non-rubber, stretchable, polyurethane fiber which is used in various fabrics for stretch like women’s leggings, clothing for sports, socks, brassieres, and girdles. The sensitizer in these fabrics is mercaptobenzothiazole. (Sensitizers are materials that can cause severe skin and/or respiratory responses in a sensitized worker after exposure to a very small amount of the material)
- Remnants of bar soaps or powdered soaps on washed clothing is an important cause of dermatitis especially the underwear.
- AZO dyes and disperse dyes dyed clothes contain heavy metals like chromium, cobalt, copper, nickel, mercury, lead, antimony and arsenic.
There is enough study that proves above facts are right. Still none of the products come with labels with warning sign saying “This product may damage your health”.
Other products known to cause damage to health are listed below:
- Tight synthetic (or any) underwear and innerwear: Genital area is most sensitive part of human body for chemicals absorption. In case of men, New York University’s dermatology medical journal suggests “The scrotum (pouch of skin containing testicles) must be recognized as a skin area with remarkable permeability. It provides a unique percutaneous doorway for the entrance of drugs into the system and is thus uniquely susceptible to toxic and irritant agents”. American Journal of Public Health suggests “wearing of tight fitting clothing, coupled with nylon underwear and/or a panty hose, creates more warmth and moisture in the vaginal and cervical areas, thus producing an environment favorable for colonization of Candida albicans and other yeasts”.
- “Wrinkle resistance” “non-iron” “stain repellent” “water repellent” or any kind of “repellent” “retardant” “resistance” clothing: they have a coat of chemical on them that repels water and other stuff to enter the fabric. Some of the chemicals quoted on fabrics are known to be hormone disrupters.
- Super tight skinny jeans and leggings: they can compress nerves and reduce blood flow to lower legs. This can lead to swelling and numbness
- High heels are unsafe. They shorten calf muscles and increase pressure on back and knees. Avoid them as much as possible.
Poor choice of dressing sense in earlier life can lead to spinal pain, bunions and other kind of arthritis in older age.
Why does fashion industry don’t give us a warning?
Fashion industry will never give us warning until there is a government regulation in place, or until consumers ask for it. Read a success story here.
When time and again medical industry has come up with studies proving these facts as true, why don’t they do something about it? Medical industry can collaborate with fashion industry and suggest ways to improve the quality of clothing and help make healthy clothes. They always suggest us to eat right. Why not suggest some ideas on how to wear right? After all skin absorbs toxins from clothes.
Broken ankle from high heels, clothing dermatitis from toxic clothes, numbness from super tight bottoms, allergic reaction from synthetic underwear, toxic chemicals from dry cleaning, toxic sleepwear; I mean really? Can’t fashion industry do better for our consumers. Consumer just wants good sexy look and comfort. Women want to look very sexy and desirable. Men wants to look attractive. Is it a rocket science to create those kind of products keeping health in mind? People never asked for toxic and unhealthy clothes. Fast fashion industry gave us chemicals hidden in clothes. Time to educate people on this so they can stop hurting themselves due to ignorance.
Medical industry can come forward and suggest clothes which promote good health and shoes that promotes good posture. It is no brainer.
Don’t put fashion before health and comfort.
Care what you wear.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”- Jim Rohn