Let us start by saying today’s clothing industry is a 1.5 to 1.7 trillion dollar industry, as of 2021, that uses approximately 8,000 synthetic chemicals. Unlike processed foods that are mandated to show ingredients on the package of products, items of clothing do not come with any warning or information on the ingredients or chemicals used in manufacturing processes. These synthetic chemicals melt at fast rates, high temperatures and cause burns, skin rashes and lesions that can be cancerous, nausea, unexplained fatigue, burning and itching, unexplained headaches and much more.
Some of the synthetic chemicals to be aware of include polyfluorinated and perfluorinated chemicals(PFCs), formaldehyde, triclosan, nanoparticle silver, and phthalates. While these toxic and synthetic chemicals help keep your clothes fire, water, stain, shrinkage, and even wrinkle-resistant, these same groups of chemicals have been proven to lead to hormone disruption, irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and possible liver damage. High levels of formaldehyde exposure have been known to cause some types of cancers and DNA damage.
It is important to also note that babies, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are at an even greater risk.
From production to the hands of the consumer, conventional cotton and synthetic clothing have a daunting effect on the environment. As of January 2022, it has taken over 12 million tons of fresh water to produce cotton globally. On average, it takes 2700 liters of water to produce one cotton t-shirt. It would take an average person 2.5 years to drink that amount of water. Cotton production and synthetic clothing also require heavy use of pesticides to control insects. This contributes to soil degradation. Plastics and toxic chemicals are also found in oceans because the waste from the production of these clothing is diverted into the ocean. All our clothes shed fibers when they are washed, regardless of the material they are made from. For synthetic clothing, this means microplastics and toxic fibers are released into the ocean. All these affect marine life negatively. Synthetic fibers are an increasing, long-term threat that must be tackled head-on, or we will poison our planets beyond redemption. Earth is being poisoned without repair, because of these synthetic fibers.