Buyer Aware

“Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find” Quoted in Time

Are you aware of contents in your t-shirt?

Every one love t-shirts, they are such an easy wear. We have those comfort wear t-shirts on while doing most uncomfortable work whether it’s in our backyard, construction site or in a factory. And it’s such a comfort to slip in a white t-shirt, every night, before hitting the sack.

If you don’t have a t-shirt, a hat or a jacket with your brand’s logo imprinted on it, you are missing out on a powerful and affordable marketing opportunity. T-shirts can be your walking advertisements. They are a popular choice for advertising your company or product, your brand, for fundraising activities, charities etc. At such events they are usually free. T-shirts are also popular with fitness industries and runners love it. So it can just not be walking but running advertisement for your products.

T-shirts are inexpensive these days. They come in hundreds of colors. You name it and you got it.

Not all t-shirts are healthy though. Ask from a textiles and clothing insider, he can surprise you with inside information. So how do we know what is inside those color full t-shirts.

There is a quite a bit of coloring that basic raw fabric takes to make a colored t-shirt. That is called “dyes and chemicals”. Important to mention here is that (by some estimates) a shirt can gain 10% to 100% of weight, after it gets dyes, chemicals and various finishes on it. So if you wear a shirt without color, it might be 30% lighter in weight. And mostly that weight is “Man Made synthetic dyes and chemicals”. Now that is a lot of “synthetic and chemicals” hanging on our shoulders and hugging our body, even when we sleep.

Needless to say, we have to be “buyer aware”. A wise buying can save your skin.

The color we see on the shirt is called dyes, we all know that. What is a synthetic dye?

Below is brief introduction to synthetic dyes.

Synthetic dyes are derived from petroleum products, specially coal tar. Synthetic dyes are used extensively by textile industry. The chemicals used to produce dyes today are often highly toxic, carcinogenic, or even explosive. The chemical Aniline, the basis for a popular group of dyes known as Azo dyes which are considered deadly poisons, giving off carcinogenic amines, and dangerous to work with and also being highly flammable. In addition, other harmful chemicals used in the dying process include dioxin – a carcinogen and possible hormone disruptor, toxic heavy metals such as chrome, copper, and zinc – known carcinogens and formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen.

A significant proportion of synthetic dyes are lost annually to waste streams during textile processing, which eventually enters the environment. Textile dyes have synthetic origin and complex aromatic molecular structures that make them difficult to biodegrade when discharged in the ecosystem. Color/dye being one of the important recalcitrant, persist for long distances in flowing water, retards photosynthetic activity, inhibit the growth of aquatic biota by blocking out sunlight and utilizing dissolved oxygen and also damage the aesthetic nature of the environment. As such dyeing wastes need to be treated before discharge into the environment

The best way to color a shirt is, sadly, an area that is often neglected when manufacturers look to make their garments more ecologically sound. It’s great to see more and more t-shirts made of organic cotton, but many of their manufacturers have not stopped to consider the environmental impacts of the dyes. Many retailers and producers happily claim that they sell organic shirts, having completely disregarded how their stock has been colored.

The use of natural dyes is almost negligible and it’s hard to find a natural dyed shirt.

A report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on environmentally sound production clearly states: ‘the best option is not to dye the fabric.’ Eco-logic dictates that the less processes the t-shirt goes through, the more environmentally sound it is. An undyed t-shirt completely cuts out the coloring process, meaning the footprint of dyeing the undyed t-shirt is a big fat.

After reading this, you might think, are all the colored shirts made of this stuff? Answer is yes, most of them we see in stores today.

So what do consumers do those who have sensitive skin? What If now I don’t want to wear toxic colored t-shirt?

Below are the options we got to save our skin:

1st option- Try to look for natural fiber made undyed shirts. Organic cotton is the best option.

2nd option- Look for 100% organic cotton shirts, with light colors.

3rd option- Wear more of light color shirts made of natural fibers. They have less load of dyes and chemicals and they have stayed in the dye batch for less time. That means, dipped in dyes and chemicals for less amount of time than medium or dark color.

4th option- For fashion conscious people those who want to wear all sorts of color, look for various symbols that protect clothing to be dyed from worst kind of dyes (carcinogen and possible hormone disruptor, toxic heavy metals such as chrome, copper, and zinc – known carcinogens and formaldehyde). Those symbols are:

  1. GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards)

  1. Oeko-Tex

In the textile industry, these two certifications restrict fabrics from being treated from above mentioned harmful chemicals.

5th option – Avoid most chemical loaded shirts like wrinkle resistance, stain resistance or as a matter of fact any kind of “resistance”, “repellent” “retardant” finishes. They are coated with chemicals not good for skin.

Origin of safe clothing fiber is from earth not labs.

Stay safe. Wear Safe.



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