There are many more toxins in clothes than we think

There are many more toxins in clothes than we think

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By Madeleine Almberg

Clothes contain far more toxic chemicals than previously known, according to a study by theSwedish Chemicals Agency.

Large amounts of chemicals are used in the manufacture of clothing, about three kilograms for every kilogram of clothing. Many of these substances, such as preservatives and substances to prevent mold, are causes of allergies.

Some of these chemicals can cause cancer, or disrupt the hormonal system, or even human DNA, such asarylamines formed by accidental dyes. They are also bad for the environment.

"Many used chemicals have not been evaluated from a health point of view, and new chemicals are constantly being transported, we know very little about this," said Marianne Jarl, regulator for the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association, a NGO.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency identified 2,400 substances in its report. Around 10% of them could be a danger to humans and their environment. There are also allergic dyes in clothes that are not allowed byRegulations of the European Union (EU).

“Textiles are mostly manufactured outside of Europe,” Jarl said, adding that “This means that the common EU regulation for chemicals called REACH is not being applied. In Asia, the flaws in chemical legislation are incredible, and importing countries may not know at all what kinds of chemicals are being used. "


These harmful chemicals not only affect the people who wear these clothes, but also our environment and the people who make them. Those most affected are the countries where this production takes place, since sometimes textile factories release contaminated wastewater directly into the environment.

In addition, large amounts of harmful pesticides are used for growing cotton. Some of these substances can spread to other countries, and there also harm the environment. One of those substances isnonylphenol, which has been detected in Swedish sewage treatment plants.

Not even supposedly organic cotton is guaranteed to be free from harmful chemicals. They can be added during various processes, such as bleaching, dyeing or printing.

Many harmful chemicals are still allowed

According to Martha Sedvallson, President of the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association, there are too many dangerous chemicals that are still allowed. Furthermore, we know very little about harmful chemicals that affect man and the environment, even within currently regulated limits.

"Even if companies choose to stay within those limits, there is no knowledge about the effects if different harmful chemicals are mixed into the process," she said.

Some of these chemicals are flushed out when you do your laundry for the first time, but end up in the environment, where they continue to do harm.

“The biggest problem with the use of chemicals is the practice that developed over the last hundred years or so; that says chemistry needs to be classified as very dangerous before being banned, "said Marianne Jarl.

She argues that chemical testing consistently lags behind, and that there is little interest in studying how chemicals affect our health and the environment. Even the big manufacturers don't seem to be very interested, she thinks.

"We feel that the burden of proof must be reversed: a chemical must be evaluated for its impact on health and the environment, before it is allowed to be produced on a large scale for industrial or domestic use," Jarl said. "Unfortunately, the road to get there seems to be endless."

The Epoch Times

Video: FRANCE 24 Environment - The color of your clothes: Dipping into dyes and showing your clothes true colours (July 2022).


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