They say, “You are what you eat” – and that’s true! But could we also be what we wear? The correlation between chemicals and illness is on the rise and research suggests that we should not only be conscious of the food we eat, but also of the shampoos and detergents we use, the medicine we take, and now even the fabrics we wear.
It’s not something most of us think about when we go shopping. We are typically far more concerned about the style, color, and fit of the clothing we buy than we are about what exactly went into that material. Unfortunately for us consumers, the fabric industry is highly unregulated, especially in the United States where there are virtually no requirements that manufacturers disclose the chemicals used in processing—chemicals that remain in the finished fabrics and are eventually worn and absorbed by our unprotected bodies.
So just how bad is it? There are over 2000 chemicals used in textile processing today, including some of the most toxic—lead, mercury, arsenic, formaldehyde, and Bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals are added to make clothing softer, wrinkle-free, fire-retardant, moth-repellent and stain resistant, but at what expense? Not only have the chemicals used in synthetic fabrics been linked to health issues like cancer, immune system damage, behavioral problems, and hormone disruption (to name a few), but their production processes are extremely harmful to the environment and other species. Nylon and Polyester, for example, are made from petrochemicals whose production creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is over 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In addition, petrochemical dyes and their fixatives are often laden with heavy metals which pollute our water systems. Other commonly used chemicals include volatile organic compounds (hazardous air pollutants) , and dioxin-producing bleach which has been linked to reproductive and developmental problems, immune system damage, hormone interference, cancer, liver problems, and metabolic and thyroid malfunctions.
This information can be overwhelming, especially considering that we encounter these fabrics and their chemical cocktails every day. But fear not! Here are some easy steps you can take to protect yourself:
Go All Natural! Buy products made of natural materials like cotton, wool, silk, and hemp. Check out these great hemp-cotton pants from AWAZ!
Read Your Clothing Tags! When purchasing clothing or other fabrics, steer clear of products that use rayon, nylon, polyester, or other synthetic materials
Organic, Organic, Organic! When you purchase organic products, this not only ensures that the material itself is chemical free, but also the production process. Here are some great new organic cotton dresses and tops from AWAZ to get you started!
All Natural Dyes! Buy clothing made with natural dyes. Natural dyes are often made using vegetables and fruits, herbs and flowers so they are totally safe for you and the environment!
Recycle! Recycle fabric whenever possible to save our soil and waterways. Here’s an idea! Check out these recycled silk sari yoga mat bags and purses from AWAZ!
The chemical onslaught brought on by today’s fabric industry is dirty and dangerous for our health, and the health of our planet. That’s why AWAZ is so proud to bring you handcrafted, all natural and eco – friendly products. Check out our webstore for more good-for-the-planet, Fair Trade products!