Unseen Chemicals Hiding in Your Clothes

Reduce your toxic load & improve skin health

Did you know that synthetic fibres commonly used in clothing production, such as polyester and nylon, are manufactured using harmful chemicals and toxic substances? By wearing garments made with these fibres, you expose yourself to potential health risks.

Clothes are like a second skin on the body; therefore, the fabrics you wear matter. Your skin is the largest organ of the body. Its pores absorb everything you put on. In other words, anything you place on the skin can find its way inside your body – the skin is non-selective, so it absorbs both the toxic and non-toxic components of what is applied to the skin. For example, herbal creams or natural essential oils have a therapeutic effect; however, aluminium-based deodorants are toxic and are a burden on your health.

Wearing synthetic fibres exposes you to poisonous chemicals that leach into the skin and may wreak havoc on your health. These fibres can also irritate the skin, clog up pores and increase your toxic load. Natural fibres don’t damage your skin and body as they are non-toxic, breathable and hypoallergenic.

To decrease your exposure to toxins and enhance your body’s well-being, it’s a good idea to wear garments that are made from natural, non-GMO organic fibres. Discover the dangers of synthetic chemicals, how these toxins may affect your health and the alternative clothing options available.

What’s wrong with synthetic fibres?

Despite their popularity, synthetic fibres present a range of health and environmental risks.

In addition to being made from petroleum-based chemicals, synthetic fibres also contain other hazardous chemicals, heavy metals and plastics that can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin and cause serious health problems, including:

      • Cadmium and antimony – carcinogens that are toxic to the heart, lungs, liver and skin.
      • Formaldehyde and benzene are linked to cancer, reproductive problems, lung disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
      • Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) accumulate in the body and have shown to cause cancer, reproductive issues and liver and kidney damage.
      • PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PCDT (poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate) – when heated, these chemicals can leach antimony, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) which are associated with endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, neurological damage and cancer.
      • Dyes and bleaches are commonly used to create vibrant colours or lighten clothes. Azo dyes are made from petroleum-based chemicals and contain high levels of carcinogens that are known to cause cancer. Bleaches (chlorine and peroxide) can irritate the eyes, nose, throat and skin and cause respiratory problems.

Can negatively affect the pH of the skin and damage the skin’s acid mantle which may make you more prone to allergies, rashes, breakouts and skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis and eczema. Synthetic fibres are not as breathable as natural fibres so they tend to trap sweat, dirt and oil more easily on the skin which can imbalance the pH level of the skin causing it to become dry, cracked, irritated and inflamed.

Hinders skin thermoregulation. Synthetic fibres can create a barrier between the body and the environment, trapping the body’s heat and reducing its ability to regulate temperature. This can cause the body to become overheated and lead to fatigue, irritability and reduced energy. The chemicals in the fibres can also dysregulate hormones which can affect energy levels.

May trigger allergies as synthetic fibres release tiny particles of dust and lint when washed that can irritate the eyes and lungs. These particles are especially dangerous to those with asthma. 

Damages to the environment and eco-system – synthetic fibres are not biodegradable (they don’t break down naturally) and therefore remain in the environment for a very long time after disposal. The build-up of synthetic fibres in the environment can harm wildlife and disrupt the natural balance of ecosystems.

Contributes to air and water pollution. During the production process, petroleum substances and other chemicals are released into the air and water. Synthetic fibres can also be difficult to recycle because they are made from a mix of materials. This results in most synthetic fibres being sent to landfills which can lead to the release of hazardous chemicals into the environment.

Increases greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide into the air due the large amount of energy and water required to make synthetic fibres. These emissions contribute to global warming which is one of the main causes of climate change.

Unethical production processes. Most mass-produced clothing is made in third world countries where factory employees work in appalling conditions for a pittance (whilst clothing brands make huge profits). Workers are also subjected to dangerous chemicals and other hazardous materials without proper safety precautions.

What are natural fibres?

Natural fibres are fibres made from materials found in nature such as cotton, wool, silk, linen and bamboo – they offer superior comfort, breathability and durability. Natural fibres are more environmentally friendly than synthetic fabrics as they are biodegradable and require less energy and water to produce. They are also more durable, so they last longer and retain their shape and colour.

Cotton is one of the most popular natural fibres used in clothing as it’s highly durable and lightweight, making it a great choice for everyday wear. It is a renewable resource that comes from the cotton plant. When harvested, the cotton plant produces a fluffy white fibre that is used to make fabrics. Cotton is known for its therapeutic health benefits – it is 100% hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and mildew. It doesn’t irritate or damage the skin or cause allergic reactions, making it ideal for those with allergies or asthma. Additionally, cotton is very breathable and can absorb and wick away moisture, helping to keep skin cool, dry and comfortable and preventing sweat and bacteria from accumulating (which can lead to skin infections). Cotton naturally absorbs and traps toxins such as pollutants (smog and pesticides) which can help reduce your toxic load.

Be aware that most cotton is GMO (genetically modified organism), made using biotechnology. The genetic material of cotton has been altered to make it resistant to pests, diseases and other environmental factors. It is a different type of cotton and therefore does not have the same properties as non-GMO organic cotton. Genetic engineering of cotton involves using toxic chemicals such as growth regulators, antibiotics, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides. When you buy GMO-free cotton, you can rest assured that no harmful chemicals are used during the manufacturing process. 75% of the cotton manufactured worldwide is GMO, and only 1% of cotton production is organic cotton.

Health benefits of wearing natural fibres

Heat regulation – less overheating and sweating. Natural fibres are porous, highly breathable and excellent at wicking moisture away from the skin and out of the fabric. This can help regulate body temperature and keep the skin dry and comfortable, even in humid climates.

Hypoallergic – the dense fabric structure of natural fibres prevents the build-up of soil and dirt which can trigger allergies and skin reactions.

Non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals so they are healthier for your body and the environment. 

Improve skin health and prevent premature skin ageing. Natural fibres are gentle on the skin, reducing skin irritation and rashes.

Make your skin health a priority

Make a conscious decision to prioritise your skin’s health by choosing non-toxic clothing. By doing so, you can improve your well-being, reduce your toxic load, and make a positive impact on both your skin and overall health. Check out CNM’s new range of 100% organic and non-GMO cotton hoodies that are available in three different colours.

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