5 methods to avoid wearing clothing that contains dangerous chemicals
Nowadays, clothes are made with a lot of features that are wrinkle- or shrink-resistant, fire-resistant, waterproof, stain-resistant, mildew-proof, or non-stick. However, the trade-off for better clothing performance usually comes with a lot of harmful chemicals.
Many toxic chemicals in the fashion and textile industries are out of control. Despite some known carcinogens (e.g., cancer-related formaldehyde), most brands are still manufactured overseas, where regulation is restrictive. And only the most harmful chemicals are regulated in the US, leaving a large number of chemicals that are not controlled but have the potential to cause adverse health effects still exist.
Solutions to avoid clothes containing harmful chemicals
The best thing you can do is to reduce/prevent toxins from entering your body in the first place. You can't control everything, but you have complete control over your own home and the clothes you wear. Here are 5 ways to avoid clothes containing harmful chemicals.
1. Check the product's ingredient label
If your garment is labeled "undyed" or "natural", it means they do not contain AZO dyes. Moreover, look for clothes that have been treated with anti-stain chemicals. Look for sportswear that uses terms like “synthetic aromatherapy free” or “essential oil only".
2. Learn about product certification
Look for products with GOTS, and OEKO-TEX certificates. They are the 2 most prestigious certifications in the world, helping to test and remove harmful substances in textiles and protecting consumers' health and the environment. In addition, the testing criteria for the certification are updated annually according to the latest law formulation and research, including:
- Illegal substances such as dyes/colorants contain carcinogens.
- Legally regulated substances such as heavy metals (lead, mercury, etc.).
- Substances are known to be harmful to health but not yet regulated/prohibited by law, such as pesticides and dyes that cause allergies (causes of allergies).
- Specifications such as color durability and skin-friendly pH (friendly to sensitive skin). These are preventive methods to protect consumer health.
3. Choose a reputable brand
Look for clothing brands that are committed to not using harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, PFCS, or phthalates and have safety certificates to prove the safety of their products.
4. Wash clothes before wearing
Washing clothes before first wear will wash away left dye and reduce your exposure. It also removes about 60% of the formaldehyde on the finished garment.
5. Use non-toxic laundry detergents
Many washing products contain ammonia. Although ammonia has beneficial effects on the body, overexposing it can cause liver and kidney damage as well as eye and skin irritation. It is best to use chlorine-free bleach and chemical-free washing products.