Every day and night, we’re surrounded by fabrics. From the clothing we wear to the sheets on our beds to upholstery on our furniture or car seats, these are the fabrics of our lives.
Fabrics are around us nearly all the time, but did you know that your material choices could either help or harm your health?
We’re living in a material world
Not that long ago, people stuck to the natural fabrics: wool, cashmere, cotton, silk, linen, and hemp.
But if you take a look at your clothing labels today, you’re likely to find materials like rayon, polyester, acrylic, acetate, and nylon. On top of that, your shirts and slacks may be treated to be wrinkle-free or stain-resistant.
These technological advances in fabrics may make our lives simpler, but at what cost?
Chemically treated synthetic and natural fabrics are a source of toxins that may adversely affect your health and the health of the planet.
Steer clear of these 6 toxic fabrics
1. Acetate. Both acetate and triacetate are manufactured from wood fibers called cellulose and undergo extensive chemical processing in order to produce the finished product.
2. Acrylic. Acrylic fabric is made of polyacrylonitriles and may have potentially strong links to cancer, especially in women.1
3. Nylon. Made from petroleum, nylon fabric is often given a permanent chemical finish that may be harmful.
4. Polyester. Polyester is pretty much the worst fabric you can buy. It’s made from synthetic polymers, derived from esters of dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid, and may release hundreds of millions of microfibers into the environment per person each year through washing.2
5. Rayon. Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone, and sulphuric acid to survive regular washing and wearing.
6. Anything labeled static-resistant, stain-resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain-proof, or moth-repellent. Many of the stain-resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), like Teflon; these pollutants have been detected in humans and marine animals.3
Stay safe by wearing 7 natural fabrics
If you’re chemically sensitive or just want to surround yourself with healthy fabrics, listen to Doris Brunza — a fashion designer who worked in the Garment District in New York City for 20 years… read more