Not long ago clothing was made from natural fibres like wool, silk, cotton, and linen. But the world of fashion has completely changed since the invention of synthetic fibers in the 1900s. If you take a look at your clothing labels, you are likely to find materials like polyester, acrylic, acetate and nylon. Such fabrics are very resistant, easy to care for and economical. They make our lives simpler, but at what cost.
Same as plastic, synthetic fabrics are made from fossil fuel. The fibers are transformed into threads through a complex chemical treatment. These fabrics are not breathable, they trap heat and humidity creating a breeding ground for bacteria and contain toxins that pose serious risks to our health. The toxins can be absorbed through the skin and cause some health complications, including infertility, respiratory diseases, skin irritations, and even cancer.
Moreover, synthetic clothing is a contributor to the growing environmental threat of microfibers. Microfibers are tiny pieces of plastic that break off of clothing in the laundry, travel through the sewage lines, and end up in the sea, along shorelines, and spread on agricultural crops. From there, these plastic microfibres end up in fish, birds, our food, and stomachs.
How to protect yourself and the planet?
- Buy natural fibers like cotton, silk, linen, hemp, wool, cashmere, bamboo. You will pay a bit more, but consider this as an investment in your health
- Choose organic materials, which were produced with a respect to nature
- Keep clothes for longer. Clothes generally shed most in the first few washes. Frequent buying and washing puts out more plastic. So, “Buy less, choose well, make it last”
- Avoid chemical dry cleaning and wash your clothes in an eco-friendly detergent