Many individuals suffer from vague, irregular symptoms such as nausea, headaches, rashes, hives or burning skin. The symptoms seem to come and go without a regular pattern, which leaves people to wonder what is going on. A basic factor for highly sensitive people may be that they are reacting to the clothes they are wearing. If you're wearing synthetic clothes, they may be contributing to your skin problems as well as your overall level of toxicity. Finding "safe" clothing can be a big issue for people with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) and others who are who are sensitive.
So the question is, have you considered that your clothes may be making you sick? You may, after learning more about synthetic fabric.
Synthetic materials such as acrylic, nylon, and polyester are made from chemicals such as thermoplastic, which outgas plastic molecules whenever they are heated. When you dry synthetic clothes in a clothes dryer you are outgassing these chemicals into your home and the environment. If you wear synthetic clothes, your body heat also releases these chemicals into the air and the chemicals are absorbed by your skin. When you wear wrinkle free clothes you're breathing in plastic and formaldehyde. (1)
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), including the nonstick additive Teflon, are increasingly being added to synthetic fabrics for durability, stain resistance, and wrinkle resistance. While many people appreciate no-iron or wrinkle free clothes, they are likely unaware of the hazardous chemicals used to create that effect.
Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are very persistent in the environment – they have been found in the blood of animals and human beings all over the world. (2)
Researchers have serious health concerns regarding PFCs, including the risk of cancer. Like many other toxins in the home, PFCs accumulate in your body over time. PFCs cause liver and kidney damage in laboratory animals, as well as reproductive issues.
Cotton polyester blends are commonly treated with formaldehyde and softened with chemicals such as ammonia. (3)
Formaldehyde is often added to clothing to prevent material from shrinking. Since it is applied with heat during processing it is permanently attached to the fibers. It can't be washed out. Formaldehyde may serve as an irritant to onset asthma and asthma symptoms. (4) According to EU classification; formaldehyde is a class 3 carcinogen. (5)
Clothing that is flame resistant, such as children's pajamas, have been treated with flame retardant, and emit formaldehyde gas.
There are two primary forms of polyester, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and PCDT (poly-1, 4-cyclohexylene-dimethylene terephthalate). Most polyester is also manufactured with antimony, a carcinogen that is toxic to the heart, lungs, liver, and skin. (6)
Rayon is made from wood pulp hat is treated with caustic soda and sulphuric acid. (7)
Many textile dyes and bleaches contain toxic heavy metals such as cadmium and chromium. (3)
Natural and organic fabrics are a more environmentally conscious choice. Natural and organic clothes are less likely to trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation. If the cost of these clothes is prohibitive, be sure to check thrift shops, yard sales or consider a clothing swap with friends and neighbors.
Look for clothing made of natural fibers such as:
• Organic Cotton
If you are experiencing rashes, hives, itching, welts, redness or other negative reactions to your clothes consider the following:
• Try a different laundry detergent (one that is perfume and dye free)
• Try cutting down on the amount of laundry soap you use, there may be residual soap in your clothes and bedding causing skin irritation.
Sources for this article include:
(1) Home Safe Home by Debra Lynn Dadd