Should clothes have toxic warning labels?
By Joan McDaniel October 10, 2013
Are the clothes you wear toxic?
This is the final article concerning clothes. The first covered the toxins in Laundry Detergents, the second covered the toxins found in new clothes and this one covers the material clothes are made of. Clothes made from material that is either man-made (synthetic) vs. material that comes from nature. Guess which is toxic?
To give you a hint – I change my polyester “hoody” for a sweater made from cashmere guess which one is non-toxic and warmer? The Cashmere sweater came from a garage sale for $5.00. If it didn’t make me so warm, I would never take it off.
Clothes make our image
Ever hear the old saying “Clothes make the man”?
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
Ever since Adam and Eve, we have worn clothing to cover ourselves. Clothing and the fabric it is made of play a huge role in our life. We want to look in fashion, in charge, cool and behind the game or in charge or in some cases not in charge. Clothes make our image to ourselves and others. We also need clothing to protect ourselves from the elements and the world around us. Clothes protect us from the sun, cold, weather and keep us warm. From the time the caveman first began wearing fur, the world of clothing and the fabric from which it is made has changed. Over the ages, a large selection of materials has been created and used.
Are your clothes made of plastic?
Our bodies and Plastic
In this day and age, we use plastic for just about everything. In our fast paced life, plastics are considered convenient, cost-effective, and useful. I am not against plastic and I would find it very difficult to live without. The plastic marketplace is a large money-maker and well established. But sometimes, I feel our lives seem based on the artificial and ignoring the real or natural – or at least mine use to.
Plastic may be convenient but this short-term way of thinking can be very misleading and unhealthy. We have developed a sort of use it and throw it away mind-set, but not everything is temporary. As much as we try or wish it, our bodies are not made of plastic. Our bodies cannot be treated with the same temporary mind-set. Has this irresponsible throw away thinking gotten us to where we are throwing away our health too? Our bodies cannot exist on plastic or digest plastic nutrition. Our bodies need the real stuff, real natural food to stay well and to fight off toxins that threaten our health. Short term gains seem to now be causing long-term headaches and other body ailments.
Plastic is made from petroleum which powers the combustion engine when exposed to fire. We like to think of the cells in our bodies as engines but we don’t go very far on a tank of regular or ethanol gas. Even though ethanol is made from corn it has zero nutrition. Plastic contains zero – count them – zero nutrients. When our immune system is exposed to plastic, it disrupts the body’s natural hormones. It also causes free radicals, oxidation, and then inflammation which cause illness like cancer, dementia, diabetes, GI and colon problems, and all other diseases. It in time will overwhelm the body’s immune system and in some cases cause it to attack itself (Autoimmune disease).
The only real way to prevent toxins from collecting in your body in the first place is to avoid exposure to them.
A Brief History of Plastic Clothing
At first, all clothing came from the cell walls of green plants called Celluloid. In 1863 Plastic were made from celluloid. The cellulose content of cotton fiber is 90%, that of wood is 40–50% and that of dried hemp is approximately 45%. Cellulose is mainly used to produce paper and paper board. Today conversion of cellulose from energy crops into biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol is being mixed and used as gasoline. Cellulose for industrial use is mainly obtained from wood pulp and cotton.
Plastics gave us the Nylon Stocking
Nylon advert, 1950
Celluloid wasn’t perfect for it is flammable, cracks easily, turns yellow, and deteriorates easily if expose to moisture. Perfect plastics are now derived from petrochemicals or petroleum (oil). Granted Oil is a natural product the resulting plastic is manufactured or created by man. In 1938 Otto Bayer and co-workers discovered and patented the chemistry of polyurethane and plastic was made practical. Otto was a German industrial chemist at IG Farben and is not related to the Bayer Company or Bayer aspirin. In 1939, Otto’s plastic was used to create Nylon and the Nylon stocking came into existence. It might me said Women were never the same again. Soon Fashion became a big money-making market and began to dictate almost everything.
Has this irresponsible throw away thinking gotten us to where we are throwing away our health too? Short term gains seem to now be causing long-term headaches and other body ailments.
History of Plastic Video
Clothes- Nature vs. Man-made fibers
Fiber used for clothing is either Man-made (Synthetic) or made from Nature.
A Partial List of Man-Made of Synthetic Materials;
Acrylic, Cellulose, Nylon, Polyester, Rayon and Spandex (or Elastane).
These materials are primarily made from petrochemicals are not biodegradable and are flame resistant. Thermoplastic is one name used for these materials there are other name but I am just going to CALL THEM ALL PLASTIC
A Partial List of Natural Clothing Materials;
Natural textile of fibers for clothing materials come from animals and plants.
Angoria, Bamboo, Cheese cloth, Cotton, Denim, Down (feathers), Flannel, Hemp, Flax, Fur, Jute, Latex, Leather, Linen, Mohair, Ramie, Silk, Velvet, wood, wood bark, wool and others.
If you don’t believe me search them on the net you will be amazed how many natural fibers there are and most of them are and can be made into textiles and fabrics.
I just thought, I may of come up with a new money-maker. I can sell my cat’s cat fur, for I sure do have a lot of it around the house. Instead of calling it duck down, I’ll call the new material CAT DOWN
Picture is from my collection the title is “Cat Down”
Man-Made Clothing Advantages and Disadvantages.
Advantage – Synthetic Material Selling Points Colorfast, Flame Resistant, Mildew Free, No-Iron, Preshrunk, Stain Resistance, and wrinkle free. I’m surprised they don’t wash themselves.
Disadvantages – There is only one problem – your skin can’t get oxygen when it is enclosed in plastic. I don’t know about you but, when I wear polyester or plastic, I seemed to sweat a lot. I never seem to really cool down. I now notice when I wear a natural product like cotton, I may sweat but the clothes absorb it. My skin feels cleaner, fresher and my muscles feel more relaxed. Perspiration is your body’s way to control temperature and is one of the major ways to detox (remove toxins). Skin can eliminate more cellular waste through the pores, then the colon and kidney combined. Wearing plastic your body just reabsorbs the toxins because there is no place for them to go.
When your skin is covered in plastic, it can’t breathe is one way of saying it. If you don’t believe me, just think of what would happen if you put that banned plastic bag over your head for a few minutes to find out.
NO DON’T DO THAT BECAUSE YOU CAN’T GET O2. Look at the warning label.
Other disadvantages from plastic clothes are headaches, inflammation and irritation of nasal passages, stomach upset and skin. Now I hope we all know what inflammation means – don’t we?
All disease starts with inflammation – remember.
Symptoms are vague and seem to come and go. Many people develop allergies and sensitivities to the environment and in time lose energy and generally stop feeling good. The more exposed to toxins the stronger the body’s reaction to the clothes you are wearing.
Types of Clothing Fabrics
To list all the types of fabrics there are in the world would fill up pages and pages. But here is a select sample of the common ones, with a few exotic types thrown in.
Partial List of Synthetic Material (Man Made fibers use in Clothes)
Acetate – Is a form of polyester. It is a combination natural and synthetic fiber. The natural element is from the cellulose of wood.
Acrylic fibers – A synthetic fiber (man-made) also called vinyl acetate or methyl acrylate. These fibers are by-products from the petroleum and natural gas manufacturing. Dupont Corporation created the first acrylic fibers in 1941 and trademarked them under the name Orion. The fabric was made to resemble silk it is an artificial silk. Acrylic fiber is often used for linings in boots and gloves, carpets, furnishing fabrics, sweaters, and tracksuits. Acrylic also refers to a paint used by artists to paint a picture or used to paint your walls.
Cellulose Triacetate (CTA or TAC) – Is manufactured from cellulose a fabric similar to Rayon.
Nylon – A synthetic fiber or synthetic polymer (a man-made molecule). It is a thermoplastic silky material. Nylon was first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont research facility. Nylon is one of the most commonly used polymers. It was first used in a nylon-bristled toothbrush in 1938 and followed by women’s stockings “nylons” (1940). It was introduced as a fabric at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Nylon was intended to be a cheaper replacement for silk and silk products used during World War II. It replaced silk in military applications such as parachutes and flak vests, as well as types of vehicle tires.
Polyester – is a man-made fabric made from the by-products of petroleum and coal, mixed with air and water. Like nylon, it has low water absorbency and is quite flammable. Polyester has a very wide range of uses. From clothes, home furnishing, fillers or cushioning (pillows), to industrial uses like to make bottles, rope, liquid crystal displays, film insulation, etc. Cured polyester can be sanded and polished to a high-gloss, durable finish. Polyester clothing has the advantage of high color retention and durability. It is water, wrinkle and wind resistant compared to natural plant-derived fibers.
Rayon – Is a manufactured regenerated cellulose fiber. It is made from purified cellulose, primarily from wood pulp. Since it is manufactured from wood it is considered a semi-synthetic fiber. Specific types of rayon include lyocell, modal, and, viscose.
Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its elasticity. The name “spandex” is an anagram of the word “expands”. It is stronger than its non-synthetic competitor latex but less durable. It is a polyurethane-polyurea copolymar that was invented in 1959 by chemists C. L. Sandquist and Joseph Shivers at DuPont’s Benger Laboratory in Waynesboro, Virginia. When first introduced, it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry.
Natural Fabric Material
Advantages of Natural materials,
The natural fibers of wool and dyed flax were used by man as far back at 36,000 BP. A prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia provides the earliest evidence of humans using natural fibers. As for the advantages of natural fiber material,
- If it was good enough for man before the start of whatever date 36,000 BP stands for ,
- If it was good enough for the animal that once wore it,
- If it came from the earth the natural earth and not the lab, then it must be God’s gift to us.
Then it is good enough for me!!!!!
Animal Fibers – Fibre comes from the hair or wool of mammals like; alpaca, cat, dog, goat, horse, rabbit, sheep, and anything else that has hair or fur. Fiber from glands of insects (Silk) and Avian fiber, and Fibers from the feathers of chicken, duck, birds, swans and anything else that has feathers.
Vegetable Fibers – Fibres
Plant Fibers: Vegetable fibers are generally composed mainly of cellulose: examples include cotton, flax, hemp, linen, yucca plant, and many others. Cellulose fibers can be used to manufacture paper and cloth. Vegetable fibers also composed of cellulose which is further categorized into the following: Plant fiber including seed hairs like cotton; stem (or bast) fibers, such as flax and hemp; leaf fibers, such as sisal, and husk fiber, such as coconut
Partial List of Natural Fibers use in Clothes
Angora – The downy coat produced from the Angora rabbit.
Bark cloth is a very old fabric type that was traditionally made and used in parts of Africa, Asia and the Pacific. It comes from the bark of particular trees native to these regions, whereby strips soaked and then beaten into sheets. Bark cloth was used as a garment and furnishings textile.
Blends are a general description of fabrics made of two or more fibres. The idea is to incorporate the distinct characteristics of the separate fibres into one textile.
Bamboo – There are bamboo clothes I looked it up.
Cashmere – Goat Hair.
Cheesecloth is a variant of cotton cloth and has a very loose weave. There are several grades of cheesecloth, ranging from extra-fine to open weaves. It’s mostly used in cooking and, as the name implies, cheese making.
Chiffon is a very sheer, light fabric made out of silk, cotton or synthetic fibres. The twist in the fibres gives it a somewhat rough feel, and the mesh-like weave contributes to its see through properties.
Coconut – Coconut fibers. There are many types of t-shirts etc.
Corduroy is a strong, durable fabric with a surface of rounded cord or rib and the back has a plain or twill weave. It can be made from several textiles including cotton.
Cotton is derived from the fibre of the tropical cotton plant. When the cotton flowers bloom and die, a boll remains which ripens and splits open to reveal a white, fluffy interior with seeds – this is the raw cotton. Cotton is the most widely used fabric and is the basis of over 30 types of textiles. Try to find organic cotton for you best choice.
Denim is a type of cotton fabric woven in such a way that the threads produce that distinctive diagonal ribbing on the underside of the fabric. Traditionally it was dyed blue and the first denim trousers were made in Genoa, Italy. Both the words ‘denim’ and ‘jeans’ are of French origin.
Down Feathers – Used as fillers for pillows, coats and etc. These are the feathers found under the stronger exterior feather.
Feathers – From birds, chickens, ducks and anything else that has feathers.
Georgette is a type of silk fabric, although today synthetic georgettes are also produced. It’s light, crinkly; slightly rough feel is what it’s known for, plus the range of colors it is dyed in.
Hemp is made from the stems of the same plant that makes marijuana, but does not contain any narcotic elements. Hemp has a linen-like texture, has high water tolerance but wrinkles very easily. Hemp is one of the world’s most useful plants.
Horsehair – Clothes and brushes that come from the hair of a horse.
Jute is made from the cellulose-rich fibres of the jute plant which is native to Asia. It is typically used for making mats, burlap and gunny bags.
Linen is derived from the fibres flax plant and is highly valued for its fresh, cool feel especially during hot weather. Some fabrics of cotton or hemp when woven in a linen-like weave are referred to as linen.
Mohair is a type of wool obtained from the fur of the Angora goat. It has a silk-like sheen and luster but is also quite strong and durable.
Natural latex – is natural rubber.
Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fibre which is almost pure cellulose. Other names for rayon are viscose and art silk.
Silk is one of the oldest and most luxurious fabrics known to man. This protein fibre is obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry moth and was first produced in China as far back as 3,000 BC, also from silkworms.
Velvet is a woven, tufted fabric, originally made purely of silk but commonly composed of silk and rayon these days. The short, dense piles of cut threads are evening distributed to give velvet its distinctive feel.
Venise is a type of damask textile but typically with showy, floral patterns.
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals. There are forms of wool angora is from rabbits, cashmere is from goats, Mohair from goats, quiviut from muskoxen, and other types of wool from camelids.
A Note about Cotton
While I was in the store the other day I saw some sweat pants on sale. I looked at the label and it said 100% Algodon. Hmmmmm… What is Algodon? I had to look it up and this is what I found.
Brief history of Cotton
To the Southern United States before the Civil War Cotton got the title of “King”. To the South “cotton was king” for it was the base of the economy for the south and many will argue for the North also. Cotton was used by the ancient people in South America as early as 4000 to 3000 BC. It was also used in India around 2500 BC. Scientists found bits of cotton balls and cloth in Mexican caves that were at least 7,000 years old. It use spread worldwide and became the main agricultural crop for the early United States. With the invention of the cotton gin and the industrial revolution in England cotton became King to more than just the Southern United States. It became important worldwide
Types of Cotton: Algodon, Egyptian, Pima, Sea Island, and Supima.
- Algodon – Spanish word for Cotton. Originated in Peru is soft spun and comes in various shades but will fade in sunlight.
- Egyptian – Grown in the Nile Valley. It is considered to be the finest luxury cotton available. It is known for its softness and durability, it will actually get softer with use and washing
- Pima Cotton – The name Pima pays tribute to a Native American tribe, it is one of Peru’s main exports
- Sea Island – Grown on the seacoast of South Carolina around the time of the Civil War. It was destroyed by the boll weevil in the 20th century. Use of the name is intended to denote similar quality.
- Supima – A subset of Pima plants under careful control by Supima organization in the United States,
- Tanguis Cotton – One of Peru’s main exports
Types of Cotton Fabric: Three types – knitted, non-woven and woven.
- Woven – A loom and shuttle are used to weave the yarn into a piece of fabric. There are three types of weaves: plain, twill and satin. Differences in the weave create fabrics like Chambray, Denim, gabardine, gingham, herringbone, satin, and twill to name a few.
- Knitted Cotton – is used mainly to make T-shirts. The material is soft and stretchable.
- Non-Woven Cotton – Chemicals are used to hold the fibers together. This method is used to create bandages, cotton pads, diapers, and filters
A Word of Warning
Most of the cotton grown now is GMO. There is a new movement making available “Non-GMO” cotton fabric. Cotton is also one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. With the new growing concern over how our food is grown, consumer awareness may change how cotton and other crops are grown.
A word about Latex rubber clothing
Since plastic gives the impression of a glossy fabric, it is hard to believe but Latex is a natural fabric it is made of rubber. It is used mostly in protective clothing like gas masks waterproof Mackintosh rain coats, and Wellington boots. When worn it tends to be skin-tight, producing a “second skin” effect. There are several magazines dedicated to the use and wearing of it.
Latex worn as clothing was made famous by the TV Series The Avenger
Rubber latex is now generally replaced by plastics.
Till next time..