The 4 most toxic fabrics you need to stop buying now!
When you purchase clothes or bed linen you probably don't give a lot of your think muscle in regards to their toxic load on your body and our environment. But most fabrics that are used in our daily lives are highly processed with lots of chemicals and that can never be a good thing. The nature of 'our beast' is surrounded by fabrics all day & night...so it's good to know what to look for and how to best protect yourself. Only a few generations ago people used all natural fibres, wool, silk, hemp, linen and cotton. Today however, many items are produced using rayon, acrylic, polyester, nylon & the like. These chemically treated fabrics negatively impact our health & the health of our planet. Some examples of these nasties I grew up with & wore in the 70's (...as if the fashion wasn't bad enough!), and yes, I'm the one in the knee high frill socks.
Rayon is simply recycled wood pulp that is treated with chemicals such as caustic soda, sulphuric acid, acetone & ammonia, if you wouldn't soak in these chemicals in your relaxing bath...it's probably not a good idea to wear them or sleep in them.
Polyester is by far the worst as it's produced from synthetic polymers that are derived from dihydirc alcohol & terpthalic acid, we wouldn't drink these so why wear or sleep in them?
Acrylic fabrics are technically polycrylonitriles, which in loyman terms means they are linked to cancers, like you need any other reason to avoid these like the plague.
Nylon is made from petroleum- nuff said, we all know what that means :( Furthermore those free & easy maintenance items that are wrinkle free, stain resistant etc are generally treated with perfluorinated chemicals like Teflon, yet another example of manufacturing gone mad.
Many fabrics, (including natural yarns), have processing which usually includes detergents, bleach, petrochemical dyes, formaldehyde & chemical softeners. So many of these chemicals are toxic to humans, many contain heavy metals & furthermore, pollute our environment.
Reducing your toxic load may seem somewhat overwhelming, but bit by bit, every change will help you see an improvement in your own life, the environment & the world we live in. Ideally I would never like to wear these fabrics day in day out & I certainly wouldn't want to be spending my most healing period (sleep) cocooned in them. So of course the answer is natural fibres, hemp, silk, cotton, linen, wool etc sourced from organic producers & manufacturers.
Some of the good guys, or at least 'goodish'
Cotton - though wonderful for making fashion & decor we all know conventionally produced cotton causes great harm to the environment & our waterways with all the pesticides, fertilisers & chemicals used. Organically produced cotton causes no harm, however it's still up there as one of the 'thirstiest' crops there is, with water a precious resource it's one that should be conserved.
Hemp is simply the best of the lot. It has so many beneficial properties. It's environmentally positive with no need for pesticides or insecticides. It improves the soil where it's grown making it a perfect rotational crop for farmers. It's drought resistant, fibres of many descriptions can be produced from its fibrous stalks without the need for any chemicals.
Hemp has been used for thousands of years to make clothing & fabric, it's only since the rise of cannabis being suppressed by government enforcement agencies that industrial hemp has been given a negative rap, same species different plant. You can't smoke industrial hemp, but you can most definitely benefit from this wondrous plant & its divine fabric.
I'm a fence sitter regarding Bamboo. The plant is fast growing & usually organic given it needs very little pest control. However one method of manufacturing bamboo is mechanical (crushing of the woody part of the plant). This is usually named Bamboo linen yet very little of this is manufactured due to its high labour costs & ultimate purchasing costs.
Most of the Bamboo fabric available is produced using chemical manufacturing which includes cooking the leaves & shoots in chemical compounds including sodium hydroxide & carbon disulphide, which have both been found to cause health problems. New ways of manufacturing this fabric are chemical free, but be sure it's certified if you wish to try it & gain the benefits. Not all bamboo fabrics are created equally.
That is my 10 cents for this month....please do feel free to ask any question or leave comments. I'll be sure to get back to you :) Organically yours ... Jul