Did you know that one of the most popular fabrics used in clothing is really bad for your skin?
Not only that, this same fabric contains toxins that are dangerous to your thyroid, liver, and immune system.
And this fabric was even manufactured by Monsanto, the same company behind RoundUp and Agent Orange.
Well, it’s all true. So what is this fabric?
Polyester. Yes, polyester. And here’s exactly what’s in it...
One toxin in polyester is azo dyes, used to create vivid colors in the fabric. However, azo dyes also release chemicals called aromatic amines, some of which have been linked to cancer.
The polyester dyeing process also includes heavy metals, like cadmium. Those heavy metals can build up in your liver and kidneys, causing serious health problems.
And polyester is often doused with chlorobenzenes, which can build up in your body and harm your liver, thyroid, and nervous system.
And the list of toxins doesn’t end there...
Sometimes polyester is also treated with organotin compounds, which are mainly made of tin. These tin compounds are used to repel body odor from the fabric, so clothing won’t stink. Unfortunately organotin compounds can also harm your immune and reproductive systems.
Also, you know how some polyester clothes are touted as “wrinkle-free?” Well, that’s because they’ve been treated with another toxin that prevents wrinkling. And you’ve likely heard of this toxin before: formaldehyde.
Yes, formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Even at low levels, formaldehyde can cause headaches, runny nose, nausea, and difficulty breathing. It can also cause dermatitis (skin rash or skin irritation), making it a bad fabric for your skin, too.
So what can you do about it?
The best thing to do is to buy clothing made from natural fibers, like organic cotton, linen, hemp, alpaca, silk, cashmere, and merino wool (which is softer than regular wool thanks to its finer fibers).
However, you probably have some polyester sitting in your closet right now. So what should you do with those clothes?
Give them the smell test.
If an item of clothing has a “new clothing smell” to it — like an artificially fresh smell — it’s a sign of toxic chemical finishes. So put that item in the washing machine with enough water to cover it. Add 1 cup of baking soda to the water, and let it sit overnight. Then launder as usual.
If the piece of clothing still has that smell, you might need to repeat this process. Some strong-smelling clothes are coated in potent formaldehyde residues that are more difficult to get out.
If you give your clothing a smell test and it doesn’t have the “new clothing smell,” it’s probably fine. This is likely to be the case if clothes are older and have been washed many times. Most of the toxic finishes have already been scrubbed away.
So... for a toxin-free wardrobe, try these tips out, and let me know how it goes!