The clothes you are wearing are (probably) bad for your health.

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March 15, 2018 by Cláudia

Nowadays, we do many things differently than we used to do. One of those things is dying: while in the past, infectious diseases were the main cause of death, today the majority of people die from cardiovascular diseases, cancer or accidents. Cancer, degenerative neurological diseases and allergies are on the rise – and this is no surprise!

We are constantly being exposed to carcinogens, neurotoxins and substances that frequently trigger allergic reactions. This is the case with most cosmetics and non-organic food. And you guessed it, with our clothes too. In the different stages of production, different chemicals are added to our clothes as treatments, dyes and finishes which are dangerous to our health and the environment. Even a natural fibre like cotton isn’t safe when it is not organic because its cultivation is so dependant on pesticides and fertilizers. Over 8000 dangerous toxins can be used in our clothes, such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, bacterial and fungicides and insecticides such as permethrin. These substances were detected in blood tests, in analyses of umbilical cords and breast milk. It is estimated that everyone has accumulated over 800 chemicals that are stored and persist in our bodies.

Some of these substances have already been recognized as carcinogenic and others have been tested in lab animals and also showed a correlation with cancer and neurological degeneration. The biggest problem with these chemicals is that companies are not required to reveal them on labels. And manufacturers and retailers insist that the quantities of the chemicals are too low to have any short or long-term impact. However, what we should consider is that when these chemicals were tested, they were isolated while in real life multiple chemicals are applied to the same piece of clothing and we contact with chemicals through many different sources: air pollution, food, clothes, cosmetics, hygiene products… Predicting their interaction is impossible. But we can be certain that they are not good for us.

We are all participating in a science experiment that we did not agree to in the first place – and we are not even warned of its dangers! We are guinea pigs in an experiment that could have serious consequences for our health.

We can and should protect ourselves by looking for safer alternatives: organic natural fibers such as cotton or hemp, that have been dyed with natural dyes. But mostly we need to share this information and pressure our Governments to protect us from health hazards that are sold as harmless commodities.

For further information:

Killer Clothes, by  Brian R. Clement and Anna Maria Clement

Chemicals in Textiles

Consumers beware: toxins lurking in your clothing

New Greenpeace Report Shows that Most Major Kids Clothing Brands Contain Toxic Chemicals, Including American Apparel, Disney and Gap

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