Focus on Health…
- Scientists find that restrictive bras suppress the lymphatic system—needed to flush toxins from your breasts and lymph nodes and to help prevent breast cancer;
- Despite wide appeal of synthetic athletic apparel, medical studies show that synthetic fibers cause muscle fatigue— which can make the difference between winning and losing for competitive athletes;
- A study of 24–27-year-old-males, showed that natural linen long sleeved shirts were worn for five hours—and then polyester ones were worn for another five hours. Their arms were monitored during both with electrodes measuring skin temperature and velocity of the men's muscle tissue. No changes were measurable when they wore linen. However, when they donned polyester they endured a range of muscle disruptions.
- While individual chemicals might not endanger your health, the synergistic effect of multiple chemicals (a “toxic soup”) interacting can have unpredictable negative health effects;
- Choose natural fibers. While not always as easy to find, its best to do so when possible:
Cotton — preferably organic still remains the “king” of textiles. Organic
accounts for less than one percent of worldwide production;
Flax — one of nature’s strongest fibers;
Hemp — grows without any need for fungicides, herbicides, or
pesticides because it’s naturally insect-resistant. Its fibers are
reported to be four times stronger than cotton. This is NOT the
hemp known for its mind-altering properties;
Silk —known as the “queen of fabrics.” Watch out for the use
of synthetic dyes in this fiber.
Wool —most of today’s wool is contaminated with chemicals,
i.e., pesticides used to kill parasites. But organic wool is becoming
Other — alpaca, angora, camel, cashmere, mohair, ramie, aluyot.
You Need to Know…
The Organic Trade Association estimates that one non-organic
cotton T-shirt uses one-third pound of pesticides and
fertilizers. Cotton production uses one-fourth of the entire
world’s fertilizers. It’s another good reason to choose organic
cotton to add to the ones above.
Don’t get over-whelmed, start small. Choose organic for clothing
closet to your skin most of the time—underwear, sleepwear,
camisoles, sheets/pillow cases, etc. Build on your organic
wardrobe as you replace items.
Are You Getting a Charge?
Electrostatic charges accumulate in synthetic clothing. There
are reported incidents of shocking mini-explosions from mixing
layers of synthetic clothing with synthetic carpeting. And get
this…synthetic undergarments contribute to infertility in men.
A 24-month study of male dogs wearing either loose-fitting
polyester underpants or loose-fitting cotton ones showed
that wearing polyester created significant decreases in sperm
count and degeneration of the testes. The animals wearing
cotton suffered no side effects. (And, please, no emails to the
editor about dogs wearing underwear. I agree, it sounds silly
but no humans would volunteer!)
Scientists hypothesize that polyester traps body heat, encourages
chemical absorption, and creates electrostatic buildup…
which all affect sperm count.
I'm mindful of the problems with synthetic
fibers and dyes because (cancer
concerns aside) I'm sensitive to a wide
range of chemicals as are most of my
A few years ago I bought a beautiful
set of sheets from an upscale store. The
label said they were 100 percent cotton,
but after sleeping in them a few nights
I experienced all my old fibromyalgia
pains that had long ago resolved (unless
I eat foods in the nightshade genre
or consume MSG) and I was now again
experiencing bone and muscle pain
from head to toe. Repeated washings
didn't get out whatever the offending
substance was—it never does.
I got a terrible reaction from the
dyes or maybe the chemicals used to
make those all-cotton sheets "no-iron."
You can only imagine what true synthetic
cloth can do to us; after all, it's largely
a product of the oil industry. After I
switched to a high-quality set of organic
sheets, all my symptoms were resolved.
We have the illusion that clothes made
from synthetic fibers are safe, but the
materials are in fact full of invisible
chemicals the clothing industry prefers
we donft think about.
A hundred years ago, clothing was
made of natural fibers like cotton, flax,
wool, and silk—synthetics weren't developed
until the early 1900s.
Although rayon was introduced
in 1924, the first truly synthetic fiber
was nylon, made by DuPont from the
petro-molecule toluene. Nylon was first
used because it was a popular material
for women's stockings and later panty
Other synthetics followed:
- Acrylic (1950), aka, "wash-and-wear fabrics"—a "revolutionary time-saving
leap" for homemakers.
- Polyester (1953), "wrinkle free" fabrics developed from xylene and ethylene.
- Spandex and olefin (1959), which became the mainstay of sportswear, swim suits, and thermal underwear. Olefin is produced by "cracking" petroleum molecules into propylene and ethylene gases.
The Way I See It
Don't wait until you or a loved one has a
health issue before changing the products
you purchase. Yes, organic cotton
does cost a bit more...but then...isn't it
more cost effective to stay healthy than
to get well?
I'm especially concerned about
pregnant woman and their newborn
children, make the decision as parents
and grandparents to create a safe nontoxic
nursery beginning with non-toxic
no VOC paint to hard surface flooring,
the crib and bedding and the clothing
used for a newborn whose immune system
is not fully developed to provide
maximum protection, naturally.
- www.cancerdefeated.com Clement, Anna Maria, and Clement, Brian, Killer Clothes: How Seemingly Innocent Clothing Choices Endanger Your Health . . . And How to Protect Yourself! Hippocrates Publications, 2011. p. 75.
- http://www.cool-organic-clothing.com/organic-clothes.html Much of the information in this article was taken from the book Killer Clothes, by the Clements.