Are You Tox-Sick? Three Easy Tips To Start Saving Your Skin

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“The Superfund legislation set up a system of insurance premiums collected from the chemical industry to clean up toxic wastes. This new program may prove to be as far-reaching and important as any accomplishment of my administration. The reduction of the threat to America’s health and safety from thousands of toxic-waste sites will continue to be an urgent but bitterly fought issue-another example for the conflict between the public welfare and the profits of a few private despoilers of our nation’s environment” – President Jimmy Carter, Keeping Faith Memoirs of President (1980), 591.


Are you “Tox-Sick”?

In the book “Tox-Sick”, Suzanne Somers write about the toxins in our body, diseases caused by toxins and the doctors who can help. Author Somers identifies six areas of toxic that are listed below:

  • Plastic and other Chemicals
  • The low fat food movement and other processed, sugar-filled foods
  • Toxic mold
  • The overuse of pills
  • GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
  • EMFs (Electric and Magnetic fields) and Cell Phones

Chemicals in textile and clothing falls in first category.

Suzanne Somers mentions her personal life events in the book to explain how deadly toxins are. The goal to write “Tox-Sick” is to identify the toxic threats, one by one, and dismantle them.

I have similar goal, “To reach as many people as possible, and let them know about the toxins in the clothes they wear”.

I want to let the consumers know, that they have a choice, to wear toxins or to wear healthy. I want to share information on textile and clothing industry and the facts underlying “Resistance”, “Retardant”, and “Repellent”. The various chemicals that are applied on our clothes under the names of various finishes. To name a few: flame resistance, stain resistance, bug repellent, water repellent, crease resistant, wrinkle resistant, mosquito repellent, soil resistance, light resistance, antimicrobial finish, moth proof, temperature regulating finish, moisture management, easy care finish and list goes on.

Although the research and experiments on synthetic fibers was going on from long, Rayon was the first artificial textile fiber, introduced in 1924 for commercial production. Since it is a man-made wood based compound, the true first synthetic fiber was nylon, its petro- molecule source being toluene, was introduced in 1939 for commercial production and used for mass production of parachutes for use in World War II. It was a less expensive alternate to silk. DuPont chemist Wallace Hume Carothers is generally credited for the inventor of Nylon.

Then came Acrylic and modacrylic, wash and wear fabric in 1950, which replaced wool in sweaters. Wool is expensive but nothing keeps body warm as wool as it is natural. Acrylic can create skin sensitives. Next time while buying a sweater, put the fabric between your teeth. If you get a crackling feeling, like fire hissing, its acrylic. Same it does to your skin. It crackles and hisses on your skin and lets the chemicals rub on the skin.

Polyester and Spandex followed in 1950s. They are made from xylene, ethylene and olefin, produced by cracking petroleum molecules into propylene and ethylene gases.  There are many more toxic fibers which I’ll keep writing about in my next articles.

My Blog articles are written with the idea and goal of creating awareness about a subject that is barely talked.  The point is to reach out to various communities and let them have a healthier choice of clothes.

It’s not that people don’t understand. They are just busy with their work and priorities. They may have bigger concerns and issues. The prime subject of safety from toxins is food, and it should be. People read so much about food toxicity. Health conscious people read about food to eat and to avoid, on daily basis. After all, we intake food numerous times a day, at numerous places.

New recipes are made by restaurant and food industry, every single day. There are healthy and there are unhealthy food places.  Most of the fast food restaurants are simply unhealthy. There are better restaurants out there, but they might not be as careful with the calorie count of every food they make.  How can you find out? Ask the server about calorie count of your food, before ordering, in a restaurant. Ask for each of the drink and food consumed, and them sum it up. You will be surprised.

When you keep reading about the subjects that matters and concerns your life, there is more to learn. It’s a daily practice. Industry’s job is to keep making new recipes every single day, whether it is in a restaurant or in a textile lab. Recipe for new “repellent” on your clothes. It’s our job to keep protecting ourselves from “bad recipes”. Good for their profit, bad for health. These are recipe for fast food and fast fashion. You don’t want to be get caught in the fast lane that goes to drug store.

I know, by experience, that usually one food item served by restaurants, is a little too much to eat all at once.  At least it’s true for me. I knew this “problem” for long. Usually we do eat what we can and take the leftovers as carry out. But as long as the plate stays on the table, we keep eating. Especially when we are with family and friends, busy talking, to the point that we stuff ourselves to our fullest desire. When our overburdened stomach screams no, then we take the leftover to go.  With alcoholic drinks its worse. I’ll tell you a small trick to save yourselves from this situation. When you know the food you are about to order, is going to be too much for you, ask the server to serve you half and the second half to be packed, to go, even before it reaches your table.

Now while we keep educating ourselves on the presence of toxins in clothes, let me tell you three tricks on how to start acting today, and save your skin from toxicity.

  1. My recommendation is not to wear polyester. If you “have to”, wear a light color 100% organic cotton t-shirt underneath. Don’t let petrochemical made shirt touch your skin. Let natural organic cotton shirt hug your body. Wear light color as it has less weight of synthetic dyes and chemicals. This can be done for all synthetic tops you “have to” wear.
  2. Wash your new clothes before you wear. Many clothes come with various garment washes (chemicals), to make them look “silkier and softer”. That means after the garment is sewed and all ready, it goes to wash factory to get some “chemical finish on it”. There is lot of handling by bare hands, before packing.                                                                                                                                                                           Garments are touched by garment workers and handlers before being packed. Workers go to lunch room and then pack the garments, they go to rest rooms and then pack the garments and they do whatever they want to do and then pack the garments. Garment packing is later opened up in stores and touched by handlers and people who hang them in the stores, tag them etc. Then touched by dozens of people who try those clothes. No one cares to wash their hands for 20 secs before doing that. This brings not only a load of chemicals on each piece of cloth, but germs too. Wash in warm water with mild soap before wearing. It makes a big difference.
  3. Never, ever, wear synthetic and super tight undergarments. Synthetic clothes do not breathe and raise the temperature around the body parts leading to heat and sweat. Hence infections can be caused. Wear loose organic cotton underwear. There is a reason some parts in your body are kept hanging by nature.

Need more tips? Click Here

Be smart, wear healthy!

References:

  • “Killer Clothes” written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN
  • “Tox-Sick” written by Suzanne Somers
  • Images courtesy Pixabay.com

 

Organic Heals Planet Earth

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“By looking to the Source, to the Creator of nature, we can remember how to navigate life organically, with less struggle, and less suffering.” – Jeffrey R. Anderson, The nature of Things- Navigating Everyday Life with Grace


Organic Heals Planet Earth!

Simple definition of organic: grown or made without the use of artificial chemicals, related to or obtained from living things. Having characteristics of an organism, developing in the manner of a living plant or animal.

In the middle of the 1800’s, Justis von Liebig (1803 – 1873) analyzed plant material for its chemical components and found that while phosphorus, potassium, and in particular nitrogen were mainly responsible for the growth of plants.

Because it is critical for plant growth, nitrogen is a limiting reagent and usually a scarce commodity in a natural environment.  However, man has introduced very large quantities of nitrates into the environment in the form of nitrates or anhydrous ammonia used as fertilizer.

Thomas Corriher writes a report published on “The Health Wize report & Fidelity Ministry” April 5, 2009, where he states that high applications of fertilizers and pesticides can increase nutrients and toxins in groundwater and surface waters, incurring health and water purification costs, and decreasing fishery and recreational values.

Organic crops are generally far more flavorful, since they contain many more nutrients. A person’s mouth can actually taste the difference between God’s goodness and man’s folly. For the environmentalists out there, growing organically embraces the ideal that agriculture should meet the needs of the present without harming future generations.

Now where do we stand when it comes to textiles and clothing as far as fertilizers, chemicals and toxin levels are concerned. My rating is, pretty bad.

It is really confusing and hard for an average person who does not have any knowledge on how textiles and clothes are made, to choose a piece of cloth having safety and health concerns in mind. Anyone can be easily deceived by the look and by devious fancy labels. Specially for teens, fancy clothes are attractive. Kids get attracted to them and buy them with a good thought. That thought is for looking good. They don’t know about the hidden toxins in those clothes. How would they know? Toxins don’t come labeled. Toxins are invisible and harm invisibly until some kind of infection or allergy they have caused on the skin. Consumers won’t know what they have inhaled from those “beautiful apparel”.

Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN write in their book, Killer Clothes: Children are vulnerable to chemical sensitivities triggered by the clothing they wear, especially if they are required to wear uniforms during the school year. Many school uniforms are coated with family of chemicals called perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and given the fabric stain resistance and the “noniron” resistance often found in school trousers and skirts. These perfluorinated compounds have been classified as probable cancer-causative agents by US Environmental Protection Agency.

Now here is my explanation in simple language. If you buy a polyester or other synthetic made shirt or bottoms, you are buying a Man-made fiber from petrochemicals. This is no less than plastic woven into thread and made into cloths and further loaded with dyes and chemicals to make it in a shape and form which is quite “likable”. It is topped with more finishes to make it fire retardant, stain resistance etc. By the time it covers your body, it is all ready to infuse your skin and nose with numerous toxins and put you on the road of “getting sick”, slowly but surely. And trust me, none of the words I wrote in this paragraph is exaggerated or inflated. It’s the truth which I learnt from my experience and working in textile and clothing industry for 20 years.

I cannot wear 100% polyester. It eats my body. I can feel it. I cannot wear polyester socks. They suffocate my feet and they are already in the synthetic shoes. I simply dislike polyester. I have disposed of many polyester clothes in the course of time. Am I polyester or synthetic free? No, I am not. It’s too hard. It is everywhere. It is hidden in blends.  It is difficult to find clothes without polyester inside it. Specially woven clothes. Suits, women dresses have lots of synthetic. As far as knits goes, I can be considered as 90% polyester or synthetic free and when it comes to buying, I try to choose clothes with lowest levels of chemicals. Is it possible? Yes, it is. Learn on my blog how to buy clothes with lowest chemical levels. Just keep reading my articles.

So what to switch too. Cotton. Organic Cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of chemicals fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. It helps to improve the quality of land, prevent water contamination and conserve biodiversity.

Organic clothing will cause fewer allergies, reduced respiratory problems (no sneezing in the closets is a sign of improvement). There might not be strong scientific proofs to back up these facts. But if you consult doctors or dieticians or even your grandmother, they will always recommend organic food. Well, that’s true for clothes too. We don’t eat our clothes but our skin inhales it, absorbs it. Like a patch of medicine applied on skin. I would call it indirect eating.

I mean think for yourselves, if we go organic who is going to be benefit? There is a long list of beneficiaries. The factory workers, handlers, sellers, stockers, farmers, farm workers, earth, water ways, herbivorous animals, plants, trees, dyers, garment workers, and finally consumers. Means you. I don’t think it’s a bad deal at all. We just have to make a start.

Fertilizers might have helped to create a lot of food at quick pace to feed the growing population all over the world, but we are starving in food abundance.

Keep reading my articles to know why industry uses so much of synthetic fiber.

References:

 

Fashion Versus Safety Dilemma

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“Buy less, choose well.” -Vivienne Westwood


Fashion Versus Safety Dilemma

Fashion is a good thing. The feeling of looking good in itself is good. Women get charmed and feel happy when they wear their favorite outfit. When fashion comes to their mind, they think in advance, they buy in advance and they love to dress for the moment. It’s an essential part of life for many if not most women. I mean, who doesn’t want to look good, whether it’s a woman or a man. 

Fashion is a powerful form of art. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be. It is a way to express yourself.

Lot of time is spent almost every day for the desire of looking good. Many iconic celebrities in the fashion and entertainment world have made some powerful statements about style and fashion.

“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.” —Carrie Bradshaw

“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” —Ralph Lauren

“I know what women want. They want to be beautiful.” —Valentino Garavani

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” —Rachel Zoe

“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” —Bo Derek

I think, fashion does not mean buying expensive clothes or more clothes, as fast fashion suggests. It does not mean following each and every trend in the market. That’s like letting the market trends own you. Style and fashion should come from inside. What you like and the way you want to look. The statement you want to make with your clothes.  Don’t let fashion own you, rather you decide what your fashion and style is and what you want to express by the way you dress and live.

Fast fashion is a term used by retailers to express that designs move from catwalk quickly in order to capture current fashion trends.

A digital news and lifestyle magazine “TakePart” is featuring independent journalism on today’s most important, socially relevant topics, alongside a social action platform. They started a pledge to help reduce the true cost of fast fashion. Already 13000 people has pledged on it They state on their website:

  • clothing consumption has increased 500 percent in the United States in just the last couple of decades
  • the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter on the planet after oil
  • doing just one load of laundry takes 35 gallons of water

They further state that the trend of affordable “fast fashion” has real consequences for our planet. What if we replaced it with a trend of responsible consumerism that could help provide clean and accessible water for all and sustainable communities everywhere? You can be a part of such a solution.

How? Consume differently. When you have to have that one thing, choose thoughtfully. There are other simple lifestyle shifts that you can make in buying and caring for your clothes, and you can make a dramatic difference in the impact of consumption on the planet and the people involved. You can also require businesses to be part of the solution: Choose who to buy from, and make sure your money does more good than harm—to ourselves, our communities, and our planet.

 I’ll tell you about the pledge in a little bit, before that read this.

Greenpeace International is a powerful organization based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, founded in 1971 and having offices in 55 countries. Greenpeace states that every piece of clothing we buy has had an impact on our planet before we even bring it home. That’s before you step out of the door, walk down the street, and spot that attractive item you see hanging in the window.

First, there’s water consumption. 2 billion pairs of jeans are produced every year, and a typical pair takes 7,000 liters of water to produce. For a t-shirt, it takes 2,700 liters of water to make just one. That’s the amount of water an average person drinks over the course of 900 days.

Secondly, there’s the dyeing process of which 1.7 million tons of various chemicals are used; not to mention the hazardous chemicals like PFCs that leave a permanent impact on our environment.

Greenpeace further throws light on clothing that doesn’t make it to market. An estimated 400 billion square meters of textiles are produced annually, of which 60 billion square meters are left on the cutting room floor. Each year over 80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide, and after its short lifespan, three out of four garments will end up in landfills or be incinerated. Only a quarter will be recycled.

So how did we get this way? Since when did we get so obsessed with clothes?

One obvious reason is fast fashion. In this era of fast fashion, being seen in the same outfit has been enough to warrant a “tsk-tsk” from the fashion police. Just over the last five years, the top fashion retailers grew 9.7 per cent per year, topping the 6.8 per cent of growth of traditional apparel companies.

How do we fashion responsibly when we are so detached. It’s hard to think about some person on the other side of the world, when you are buying a five dollar t-shirt from Walmart, which might be made by a worker who is not being paid a fair and living wage.  Or while keeping the effects on environment in mind when we buy too many clothes which we might not even use.

 The best way to start would be to keep ourselves informed. Getting educated on this subject by reading more about it. Doing some research before buying and asking questions to ourselves, am I buying right? Am I buying too much?

Fashion is to charm and not to harm. We need to fashion responsibly. We can be a responsible clothing consumer.

 Below is the pledge “TakePart” started:

I pledge to be a responsible consumer and remain aware of the environmental and human effects of the fast fashion industry.

  • Buy clothes made with sustainable fibers (recycled polyester, organic cotton).
  • Ask the brands you buy from how their clothes are made—tweet at them or ask retailers when you are in stores about where, how, and who makes their clothing.
  • Recycle clothes at thrift stores, vintage stores, or donation locations.
  • Participate in clothing-swap meet-ups—it’s fun.
  • Buy what you need, not always what you want.
  • Participate in “slow fashion.”
  • Buy clothes you love, that last, and that have an exceptional warranty policy to help you mend them over time.
  • Wash your jeans less.

Take part and take action.

References:

Wear Clothes Not Chemicals


“We can break the mountains apart; we can drain the rivers and flood the valleys. We can turn the most luxuriant forests into throw-away paper products. We can tear apart the great grass cover of the western plains and pour toxic chemicals into the soil and pesticides onto the fields until the soil is dead and blows away in the wind. We can pollute the air with acids, the rivers with sewage, the seas with oil – all this in a kind of intoxication with our power for devastation at an order of magnitude beyond all reckoning” Thomas Berry

Wear Clothes Not Chemicals

Let’s be practical here. In today’s world, it is not possible to stay away from chemicals or to say no to chemicals in all form or shape. We do not want to go back to caves to avoid chemicals. Chemicals are literally everywhere around us. They are in the food we eat, products we use, clothes we wear, grass we walk on, things we touch and so on. With the progress science has made and things humans have created in the lab we are living in the industrialized world. We love the progress being made and it is undoubtedly the best time in the human history we are living.

But it has come at a cost. Cost which we have to pay for our own growth. Chemicals we created to make products cheaper and turned our back on nature.

So are we better off without the chemicals? Of course we are better of without harmful chemicals. But still we cannot avoid them. So what do we do?

We restrict them. We keep ourselves informed and educated. We need to know what chemicals are life threatening for us and what products we should avoid. 

First, we don’t just absorb synthetic chemicals one time during the average day, we are exposed to hundreds of chemicals as result of using a wide array of consumer products on our skin that contain synthetic ingredients, particularly cosmetics and personal care products. Many of these same chemicals are used in synthetic clothing.  Even natural fiber clothes are topped up with dangerous chemicals. That means we absorb tiny amounts of chemicals repeatedly from multiple sources until they add up and reach a tipping point within us that could be harmful.

Let us talk about chemicals in clothes now. Do you know there are chemicals in the clothes you are wearing right now? I know many people who are well informed in their respective trades but they have no idea about heavy use of chemicals in clothing industry. 

I visited a “clean room” for Nano Fabrication lab at State College, Penn State University campus couple of years back and spoke to a PhD research scholar. While giving me a trip around the lab, he mentioned about a dangerous chemical they have to use and how high precaution and various safety measures they take while handling.  They go an extra mile by wearing safety suits and masks to make sure of no contact or inhalation takes places. In the break the topic changed to clothes and incidentally he was wearing a burnt-out t-shirt. I mentioned about the chemicals used in clothing industry and that the shirt he was wearing goes through a chemical process to create the burn out effect. His reaction was; are their chemicals in clothes too? He was shocked to hear “chemical clothes” story.

Patty and Leigh Anne are two sisters on a mission and expose all about the toxic chemicals (oecotextiles.com) used by textile industry. Their findings are mind boggling and they state “One thing is for sure industry uses a lot of chemicals. During manufacturing it takes from 10% to 100% of the weight of the fabric in chemicals to produce that fabric. The final fabric, if made of 100% cotton or linen, contains about 27%, by weight, chemicals and many of these chemicals are simply not benign”.

All dyed fabrics goes through “wet processing” which means applying a chemical action to the textile. It is a series of chemical applications where fabric is soaked and infused with chemicals, may times. The kind of chemicals vary as per the requirement of the process.

Below is a list of chemicals used under various process of textile dyeing and finishing:

  1. Process of cleaning natural fibers to improve easy care properties uses complexing agents, surfactants (lowers surface tension of water for easy removal of grease and oil), wetting agents (quickens the penetration of finishing liquors), sequestering agents, dispersing agents, emulsifiers.
  2. Chemicals such as acids, bases and salts: synthetic dyes, dye-protective agents, fixing agents, leveling agents, pH regulators, carriers, UV absorbers.

The 2010 AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists) lists 2,000 chemical specialties in over 100 categories offered for sale by about 66 companies. This does not include synthetic dyes.

Chemicals companies sell many branded products, made of unknown components, as they are proprietary. Many chemicals are necessary to achieve certain effects, such as Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) for fire retardants, formaldehyde resins for crease resistance or Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA’s) for stain protection. The chemicals used to create these effects are proven to to cause cancers or genetic mutations in mammals (humans included). 

Some of those dangerous chemicals are Alkylphenolethoxylates (APEOs), Pentachlorophenols (PCP), Toluene, Dichloromethane (DCM), Formaldehyde, Phthalates, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE’s), Perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS). Heavy metals – copper, cadmium, lead, antimony, mercury among others. 

We see those fancy labels and tags on the garments highlighting stain resistance, wrinkle resistance, waterproofing, perspiration-proof, moth-proof, mildew resistance.  Many chemicals used to get some of these finishes are linked to leukemia and lung cancer and contribute to allergies, skin irritation, insomnia, skin rashes, headaches, nausea and eye and nose irritation.

The clothes we bring in our homes with a thought of “looking good”, makes our skin feel and absorb toxic.

Like food labels, we need to learn to read clothes labels too.

For further in depth knowledge on harmful chemicals in our clothes, keep reading my articles.

References:

  1. Environmental Hazards of the Textile Industry, Hazardous Substances Research Centers, South and Southwest Outreach Program, US EPA funded consortium, June 2006
  2. Lacasse and Baumann, Textile Chemicals: Environmental Data and Facts; German Environmental Protection Agency, Springer, New York, 2004, page 609.
  3. https://oecotextiles.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/chemicals-used-in-textile-processing/
  4. W D Schindler (2004), P J Hauser, Chemical Finishing of Textiles, Woodhead Publishing
  5. Images courtesy Pixabay.com

Are You Clothes Conscious?


“There is no darkness but ignorance”- William Shakespeare


Are you clothes conscious?

Are you mindful about health effects of apparel you buy?

Have you ever thought that the garment you are buying will touch your skin and what would your skin absorb from it?  

We feel bad when we eat lots of sugar or processed food because that is not going to leave a good effect on our health. We try to “neutralize” that by walking, exercising or drinking a smoothie etc. We being aware of  numerous ways, try to apply those ways to “nullify” the effect of the wrong we have done to our diet, and it helps.  

Thinking about our clothes in the same way would be a step forward towards a healthy lifestyle.

The problem here is, most of the people don’t know how to think healthy when they buy clothes. There is a little awareness on this subject and no easily available books and of course we don’t talk much about it.  That is one of the reason I chose to write this blog.

Everyone likes trees.  We go to parks and walk in the woods to inhale fresh air and let some oxygen in for our lungs. Then we go a step further and keep plants indoors for a good quality of air. Imagine for a minute, doing all that and then walking into your closet full of clothes and breathing toxic fumes released by chemicals on our clothes. It is happening in millions of closets right now. I have seen it, felt it and experienced in my closet too.

Why is that? Because the clothes we bought are loaded with chemicals and we are inhaling harmful toxins in our own closet. Deal with those toxic clothes for few minutes in your closet and I bet the sensitive nose people will walk out sneezing and feeling uncomfortable. That’s the first sign of your body telling you something is not right around here.

This happens because we never think of chemicals while buying clothes and clothing industry does not declare the names of chemicals used on the labels, as food labels does. We buy those clothes out of ignorance. We buy them to look good.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Toxins in our closets? So what are those toxins in our closets?

They are the synthetic clothes loaded with dyes and chemicals. Not only synthetic, many clothes made of natural fiber come loaded with lot of chemicals too. Read my articles on this blog to know about those toxic chemicals and why industry uses it and how can we save our skin from them.

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 in to 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.

The dispersal of hazardous chemicals from our clothes into water systems – when they are manufactured and after they are sold – can only be addressed by the rapid and transparent elimination of their use at source. Following Greenpeace’s Detox campaign in 2011, a number of sportswear and fashion brands took up the Greenpeace Detox challenge109 and made individual commitments to zero discharge of hazardous substances by 1 January 2020.

The reality is, there are no “environmentally acceptable” or “safe” levels of use and discharge for inherently hazardous substances, and the sooner companies eliminate all uses, the better the environmental and health outcomes can be.

Now as a “no or little knowledge” consumer in this trade, below questions can pop up in our mind:

  • How do I know while buying a piece of a garment that it has harmful chemicals or not?
  • Does reading the label would tell?

Answer to above questions is:

  • We can know when buying a cloth that it may or may not have harmful chemicals. 
  • Answer to second question is yes and no. We can but not to the full extent.

The way food industry is regulated in United States, clothing industry is not. Food items need to declare its 100% content, so we know the ingredients. But clothing industry is regulated to just declare the composition of fiber. If we don’t have knowledge  or experience in textile and clothing industry, its nearly impossible to find out what kind of chemicals clothes carry.

Don’t worry. There are still ways to know. Read my articles to know how to read a label.

Remember, industry cares about profits and we have to be smart enough to save ourselves from the chemicals they want us to wear.

We go an extra mile to take care of our health by eating right. And when we eat that piece of awesome looking cake with icing, at least we know what we are eating. The ingredients are printed on the label.

Same should be with clothing. I don’t say stop buying all synthetic clothes right now. But my point is, consumer should be aware of the contents when they buy any garment. They should know (chemical contents) this might not be the right choice for them as far as health of their clothes is concerned and it can leave adverse effect on their health. Since the labels do not say that, we have to learn on our own to save our skin.

Eat right and wear healthy.

 References:

 

Natural or Synthetic. You Choose.

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“Man-made fabrics? What provenance do they have? A squirt of gloop into a petri dish? Strands of plastic spun in sterile laboratories? They are but toxins made safe by men in white coats.”-  Fennel Hudson 


Synthetic is lab given and natural is nature given

Human skin, body’s largest organ, acts as a highly absorbent carrier for chemicals that come into direct contact with body’s “miracle garment,” as skin is often called. As Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN, in their book Killer Clothes state that common chemicals that can regularly come into contact with your skin and be absorbed by body tissues include the ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as chemicals used in the manufacture of synthetic clothing.

What is synthetic clothing? Allow me to throw some light on synthetic clothing. Synthetic fibers, such as nylon and polyester, are produced entirely from chemicals. Synthetic fibers are made from synthesized polymers or small molecules. The compounds that are used to make these fibers come from raw materials such as petroleum based chemicals or petrochemicals.

These materials are polymerized into a long, linear chemical that bond two adjacent carbon atoms. Most common synthetics fibers are polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyolefin. These four dominate the markets. Others common synthetic fibers include modacrylic, rayon, spandex, modal and many more. A synthetic fiber, when magnified, looks like plastic spun together.

Also known as man-made fiber, its chemical composition, structure, and properties are significantly modified during the manufacturing process. Man-made fibers are spun and woven into a huge number of consumer and industrial products, including garments such as shirts, scarves, and hosiery; home furnishings such as upholstery, carpets, and drapes; and industrial parts such as tire cord, flame-proof linings, and drive belts.

Origin of synthetic fibers: Polyester (1953), Rayon (1894) artificial silk, Nylon (1931), Acrylic (1950), Spandex (1959)

Now the main question. Is synthetic fiber/fabric/clothing good for you? The answer is no.

What does synthetic clothes do to harm us?

Man-made petrochemical fibers restrict and suffocate the skin, our largest and most sensitive body organ, making it unable to breathe properly so as it can release toxins. Our skin is biggest eliminative organ in body.

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. We don’t want that. That is a total no no for anyone, whether he/she is health conscious or not. We cannot move around with toxins stored in our body due to our own clothes. 

The main purpose here is, with help of my experience and study, to reveal the many ways that synthetic clothing and many other components used in their manufacture can cause acute health problems.

Let’s talk about the most popular fiber today, polyester. Everyone has some sort of polyester clothing in their closet. If you like fitness and working out, then I bet you’ll have tons of it. I know how hard it is to find fitness shorts made from natural fiber. If you love sports, you will have lots of polyester clothes.

Check your closet to find out how much synthetic clothing you got, you might be surprise. You might find even undergarments made with polyester. Bras, under wears, socks and even diapers and sanitary pads. All are loaded with polyester fiber. It’s around you, everywhere in your homes. Talk about home furnishing, that’s loaded with polyester or other synthetic fibers too.  Mattresses, upholstery, curtains and carpet. You walk everyday on synthetic fibers. I always wear cotton socks before my feet are about to hit synthetic carpet otherwise it seems like I am walking on a sandpaper. Synthetic fibers make up more than 99% of the fiber used by U.S. carpet industry. Just look at the labels.

There is no doubt polyester is very popular clothing choice, the most popular of all synthetics. Before mentioning on how polyester can harm us let us find out why is it so popular.

Polyester is extremely durable and possess the high tensile strength. It’s tough and rigid. Easily dyed, light weight, resistance to shrinking, stretching and creasing.

Polyester is soft, smooth supple- yet still a plastic. Studies point out again and again that plastics are no good for us. Biggest disadvantage of polyester that outweighs all its benefits is it’s bad for skin and ultimately for our health. It does not breathe. It hinders in body’s natural mechanism of throwing out toxins through skin. Imagine wearing a polyester shirt and shorts in fitness or while sports. That’s the time when your skin needs the most to breathe. We are in gym to stay in shape and get healthy and polyester actually stand in the way. Only reason why we don’t realize is because we don’t see the damage polyester does. Its hidden. Another big disadvantage is the environmental hazard polyester creates. That is for another day.

Polyester contributes to our body burden in ways that we are just beginning to understand.  And because polyester is highly flammable, it is often treated with a flame retardant, increasing the toxic load.  So if you think that you’ve lived this long being exposed to these chemicals and haven’t had a problem, remember that the human body can only withstand so much toxic load – and that the endocrine disrupting chemicals which don’t seem to bother you may be affecting generations to come.

Synthetic fibers, like polyester, can cause harm and when it is loaded with synthetic dyes and chemicals, just imagine how harmful it can be. I strongly recommend reading my forthcoming essays on dyes and chemicals. 

For today just try to look into your closet and see how many polyester clothes you have.

References

  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Killer Clothes written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN
  • https://oecotextiles.worcom/2011/10/13/polyester-and-our-health/
  • Main image courtesy Pixabay.com

Care What You Wear

 


“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”. Jim Rohn


Care What You Wear

During 20 years of my experience in textiles and clothing industry, working in three countries, I have come across various kinds of fibers, yarns, fabrics, garments, machines, chemicals, dyes, effluents, labs, recipes, workers and factories. In this journey of buying and selling millions of pieces of garments and thousands of tons of fabrics,  I had a very close interaction with various production processes of textiles and clothing.

If anyone wants information on how to buy healthy clothes, It’s hard to find a website or a blog which throws light on health of our clothes and gives tips on how to read a label. So I started one today.

What? Wait a minute. You might be thinking… health of clothes? What does that even mean? Ok I’ll explain. Stay with me here.

Well, it’s simple; when we buy food, we tend to buy the food that does not cause harm to our body. We read the labels carefully. After all, we don’t want to land in a situation wherein we thought we are eating to live but the food actually makes us sick.

And then we buy various other stuff which comes in contact with our body like soaps, shampoos, conditioners, cosmetics and load them on our skin several times a day.  We do check the labels on creams and sprays too so that they don’t have anything harmful inside. But there is a catch, we should know how to read a label.

Now we do all that to keep bad stuff away from our body and protect ourselves. How often do we think when we buy clothes? Hardly ever. At least I was like that when I use to buy clothes years before. I rejected clothes only when I didn’t like them. Never I remember rejecting a piece of garment because it’s unhealthy to my body. But after working in clothing industry for many years I became aware of the dangers that we bring in our homes in the form of various “beautiful” clothes.

Now we come to the real question. What make clothes unhealthy?

You might know about the biggest organ of our body. If you don’t let me tell you. It’s skin. Skin is body’s largest and fastest growing organ. Skin is body’s coat that protects us from cold and warm weathers. Skin keeps our inside in. In 1 inch of skin, you have about 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes (the stuff that makes melanin and gives your skin its color.), 1,000 or more nerve endings. Skin is our sensor, shield and communicator as well as reflection of external beauty. Every day we lose 1 quart of liquid through sweat. When we exercise we sweat one quart each hour. Now here is the important finding: Skin absorbs 60% of what touches it. Many medications are made into creams, gels or patches. These medications penetrate from skin to the bloodstream and delivered to all body parts.

Now name a thing that is in direct touch of our skin most of the time. You are correct.. Clothes.

Martin Fox, Ph.D. author of Healthy Water for Longer Life describes that we absorb more through our skin than through ingesting. In a 15-minute bath, the average adult absorbs 63% of the elements in the water. Drinking 2 liters of water, the absorption rate of elements is only 27%.

If you can not eat it don’t put on your skin.

The point here is, as we do not ignore the importance of quality of food and other stuff that comes in contact with our body, same way we have to treat clothes. Bad clothes can cause harm to our body as they hold our body so close. They hang on us, they hold us, they hug our body, they squeeze us, they go tight on us (at the places where they even should not), they get wet on us, they dry on us, they shine on us, they absorb stuff on us, they litter on our skin, and sometimes they bleed on us and most of all, our skin breathes when they are on top of us. And guess what, there is no such body part which does not come in contact with clothes (include home furnishing here). There is head wear, hand wear, face wear for winters and list goes on and on.

You might not have thought of clothes draining bad stuff in our water system, right from our homes. We wash them once or twice a week and use a lot of water and imagine how much bad stuff can be drained into our water system by bad clothes.

Now I have used this term “bad clothes” many times in this essay. Let me explain what bad clothes is. The simple definition of bad clothes is “Clothes that restrict and suffocate the skin, making it unable to breathe properly so it can release toxins are called bad clothes”

We might not realize that skin is our body’s most important eliminative organ. As Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN author of Killer Clothes describes that by some estimates we release a pound of toxins every day through our skin, assuming that it is allowed to vent as nature intended. If we hold back any percentage of these toxins from being released, they accumulate in body fat and body organs to become like a time bomb, primed to detonate as some future health malady.

If this is what the bad clothes are, then what are good clothes? Good clothes do reverse. They not only let our skin breathe, even when they are sitting on top of us, but also help our skin to release the toxins from inside our body, in the most natural way that nature intends.

See next writing to distinguish between good and bad clothes.

References:

  • American Academy of Dermatology
  • Ramsey’s Center for Natural Healing
  • Killer Clothes written by Anna Maria Clement, PhD, NMD, LN and Brian R. Clement, PhD, NMD, LN
  • Main image courtesy Pixabay.com

Healthy Wear