We know what you’re thinking...
“Boy am I looking good!” And of course we totally agree. But, what are you wearing? Yes, those jeans are GAP and that top is Forever 21, but what exactly are you wearing? There may be toxins lurking in your clothing that you’re not completely aware of. Some of the fibers that make up that stunning top may contain toxic chemicals, which can cause major health issues.
A recent discovery by Greenpeace that sparked the organization’s “The Detox” campaign proved that chemicals called nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) are frequently used as detergents in the fashion industry. NPEs break down to form a harmful toxin called nonylphenol, which has been shown to have hormone-disrupting characteristics like mimicking estrogen, altering sexual development and negatively affecting reproductive systems. This toxin can be absorbed through our skin and directly deposited into our blood stream. No joke friend, this is serious business! Perhaps it’s time to find out exactly what went into the creation of those dark-wash jeans you’re wearing…
Not only is it dangerous for individuals wearing products containing NPEs, it’s also a major hazard for those living in regions where clothing is being manufactured. In addition to NPEs, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have also been found in the wastewater streaming from clothing manufacturers’ factories. PFCs are chemicals commonly added to clothing to make them “wrinkle-free” or “no-iron.” In theory, the idea of leaving the iron in the closet and still looking like you just came from the dry cleaners sounds awesome, but synthetic chemicals like PFCs can cause skin rashes, nausea, fatigue, headaches, infections, and sudden inflammation – not so fabulous after all.
Unfortunately, health concerns stemming from toxins in the fashion industry do not end with clothing.
Equally concerning are the contaminants commonly found in that “bling” your daughter is wearing around her neck. Young girls are the primary targets of inexpensive jewelry lines from brands like Forever 21, Hot Topic and Target, but according to the Ecology Center and Healthystuff.org’s report more than half the bling sold from these stores contain at least one hazardous chemical. That same report revealed that about 27% of these products have exceeded the limit for lead content set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as the limit for arsenic (yes, you heard us right!). These harmful toxins have been associated with kidney, lung, liver, bladder, and prostate cancers when individuals are repeatedly exposed to them.
We know this isn’t what you wanted to hear.
But the good news is you don’t have to give up looking stylish in exchange for safety. More and more brands are launching with eco-friendly and non-toxic materials and production methods. So go ahead, shop away and help redefine the term “fashion forward.” And while you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to write letters to your favorite brands who may not be ensuring the safety of their employees or customers, giving them a little nudge in the right (non-toxic) direction.