Do Your Clothes Contain Toxic Chemicals?

Some might wonder how the simple act of wearing clothing with chemicals can negatively affect us if we aren’t consuming it into our bodies.

Well, our skin is the largest organ of our bodies and can be considered our first line of defense.

Our skin can absorb the chemicals found in clothing material similar to the way it would with a transdermal patch such as a birth control patch, a patch to help quit smoking, or a fentanyl patch used to relieve pain.

For this reason, we should treat what goes onto our skins similarly to the way we would with foods that we consume.

When it comes to our health, we are constantly worrying about what we are eating and whether or not we are being active enough.

We’ve been told our whole lives from health classes in school and from our doctors that a healthy diet and exercise regimen equals a healthy body.

If that is the case, why then, are there people out there who follow these practices, but still suffer from health issues?

Greenpeace International, which is an environmental organization, conducted a study that found many toxic chemicals in the materials of our clothing which we buy from many of our favorite retail stores.

These stores include Levi’s, H&M, Calvin Klein, Nike, Abercrombie & Fitch, and more.

The study involved conducting laboratory testing on articles of clothing from popular stores for toxic chemicals.


Toxic Chemicals and the Effects it has on our Health

The most common chemical found in clothing that is known to have harmful effects on our bodies is nonylphenol ethoxylates which is commonly referred to as NPEs.

This was found in two thirds of the clothing samples that were examined by Greenpeace International.

NPEs can increase the chance of breast cancer and cause irritations to our skin, lungs, eyes, and digestive system.

Additionally, it can cause birth defects, infertility, and disrupt hormones which could lead to early puberty in children.

Another very common chemical found in clothing is formaldehyde which is used as a finish for clothing that are advertised as being anti-wrinkle, iron-free, waterproof, or stain-resistant.

Many known organizations such as The International Agency for Research on Cancer, The National Toxicology Program Agency, and The Environmental Protection Agency in the United States considers this chemical to be a carcinogen which is defined in the dictionary as a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.

It is also known to cause headaches or skin irritations such as eczema, contact dermatitis, and rashes. Other chemicals found include azo dyes which release a chemical called aromatic amines.

This is a chemical that could cause cancer and developmental problems.

Additionally, it can cause allergic reactions or skin irritations such as contact dermatitis.

Toxic phthalates is another chemical found in many clothing articles and has also been linked to issues with development and fertility.

Many of the toxic chemicals found in clothing are known to be so harmful that they are banned from clothing production in the United States and in countries within the European Union, however, the majority of the clothing we buy from our favorite stores are made in other countries where this is not regulated.

The majority of clothing production are made in third world countries usually in Asia where regulations are lax.


How Are These Chemicals Getting Into Our Clothing?

There are a few different ways that these chemicals are getting into the clothing we wear.

The most common source being the coloring dye process as the dye is often made from synthetic chemicals rather than natural resources.

Another common way chemicals are getting into our clothing is through the fabric treatment process.

This includes clothing that are labeled as wrinkle-free, iron-free, or stain-resistant as these types of clothing typically contain a lot more formaldehyde than other types of clothing.

Lastly, these chemicals can get into our clothing from the beginning stages of the manufacturing process where they are used in the cotton crops.


Chemicals in our Laundry Detergents

We might think that we could avoid being exposed to these chemicals by washing our clothes, but it turns out this could make it even worse as many of the popular brands of detergents, fabric softeners, and scented dryer sheets including Tide and Gain contain chemicals that can cause cancer and damage to the liver.

For example, studies have shown the popular brand of Tide to have a chemical called 1,4-Dioxane in which the Environmental Protection Agency considers to be a carcinogen.

Additionally, many detergents have a cleaning chemical called quaternium-15 which releases formaldehyde.


How does it affect our Environment?

Not only are using these laundry products allowing more chemicals into our clothing, but it is also polluting the air with its fumes when we dry our clothes which is harmful to our environment.

Additionally, washing clothes with chemicals such as NPEs will in turn get released into our water treatment facilities.
This can be very toxic to fish and other aquatic animals.

Subsequently, we can end up consuming more chemicals from eating seafood. It’s a vicious cycle that affects us in many different ways.


Ways to Protect Ourselves

So what can we do about it? It’s not like we can just start walking around naked.

The good news, is that there are steps we can take to either avoid wearing clothes with these chemicals or to lessen the effects these chemicals can have on our body when wearing these clothes.

The only sure and most effective way to avoid having these chemicals in your clothing is to buy natural and organic clothing that are made without the use of toxic chemicals or pesticides.

Instead of buying clothing with synthetic fiber such as nylon, acrylic, rayon, or polyester, it is best to look for clothes that are made of natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, wool, linen, silk, and cashmere.

Additionally, we can buy clothes that are made in the United States or European Union as the most toxic chemicals are regulated in the production of clothing, however, clothing from these places can still have other chemicals that can be irritating on the skin, especially for those that have sensitive skin.


Other steps we can take to reduce the effects of these chemicals include:
– Washing new clothes prior to wearing them
– Using laundry detergents that are fragrance free and made from natural, plant based ingredients
Avoiding purchasing clothes that have a chemical smell
– Avoiding purchasing clothes that are advertised as being stain-resistant, iron-free, wrinkle-free, shrink proof, or waterproof.


Go to the next page and learn about other ways to protect your body from these toxic chemicals –


About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice. Learn how you can lose weight fast – How to lose weight by adding these alkaline foods.

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4 responses to “Do Your Clothes Contain Toxic Chemicals?”

  1. Mary Marston Avatar
    Mary Marston

    I wash new clothes, towels, sheets three times, hanging them to dry after each wash, and if they still smell I repeat the process. Lately I am concerned about how cotton clothig is most likely made from GMO cotton and therefore contains glyphosphate, and can you get rid of thart?

    1. Lenda deAnn Avatar
      Lenda deAnn

      Good question… Most of the cotton now grown in India are GMO.

  2. pamela Avatar

    I suggest you pray over everything as you do for your food.

  3. Kathy Avatar

    I’ve been waiting for an article like this and afraid my wardrobe is full of the wrong fabrics. Thank you for this article.

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