Why you should wear Organic

burberry chemical textiles

The shift to organic food is clearly not a new trend in our modern lifestyles. We’ve been conscious of food miles and the impact chemicals have on our bodies for a while now. Many of us are careful about what we put IN our bodies; however when it comes to what we put ON our bodies we’re not so vigilant.

The fabric your t-shirt is made from is washed, scoured, bleached, rinsed and sometimes dipped in acid. Cotton is one of the most pesticide-ridden of all crops. 7 out of the 15 most carcinogenic chemicals known to man are used to grow cotton and that amounts to 25 percent of the worldwide total use for chemicals. These chemicals are in everything, from exclusive luxury designs to affordable fashion, and from T-shirts to shoes.

Many of these toxic chemicals are banned in the US and Europe, but in the race to produce clothing as cheaply as possible most of the big brands resort to production in countries like China and Bangladesh who also happen to have lax regulations when it comes to using hazardous chemicals.

The latest investigation by Greenpeace demonstrates just how far-reaching the problem is. Of the brands they tested, every single one of them was revealed to have traces of hazardous chemicals in at least one of their clothing items. This is an issue, because when these chemicals are released into the environment they can break down and develop hormone-disrupting and even carcinogenic properties. The worst of the chemicals included toxic phthalates and cancer-causing amines from the use of certain azo dyes. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) were found in just under two-thirds of the 141 garments Greenpeace tested.

In separate tests some exported clothing was found to have traces of formaldehyde up to 900 times higher than the prescribed safety limit which unsurprisingly has been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions.

The production of cotton has chemicals seeping into the environment where clothes are made, affecting rivers and waterways that local communities often depend upon for their livelihoods. But the toxicity doesn’t end there. As charity shops are starting to refuse second hand clothing due to over supply a lot of clothes are now destined for the landfill. And when they reach their final destination, all these chemicals then leak into the earth.

It is definitely time to ask yourself: As well as eating organic, is it time to start wearing organic too?