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Microplastics in our clothes are damaging our health
Most performance activewear is bad for our skin and health because it’s made using petroleum and plastics. Even the more sustainable options, such as recycled polyester and plastic bottles, release toxic chemicals as we sweat and microplastics as we wash our clothes.
Clothing sheds tiny plastic micro-fibres, which end up polluting air, land and water, whilst picking up toxins along the way, thus compromising living organisms, plants, animals and humans.
How synthetic fibres end up in the body
A bitter pill to swallow, we’re essentially eating our own clothes! Maripaz Carballo Palazon - Naturopath
1. Synthetic fibres: their production and conversion into wearable textiles involves high energy and water consumption, as well as an array of chemicals, which can get expelled into the environment
2. Wearing & washing sheds fibres from a few thousands to millions per load resulting in 3.5 quadrillion = 878 tonnes =10 blue whales in aquatic environments (US&Canada alone according to Ocean Wise & others
3. Skin and lungs absorb micro plastics & chemicals, fish, animals and plants (via soil and rain and air) absorb/eat them and toxins accumulated by the fibres on the way
4. People eat seafood, animals and plants, use salt & drink water and beer in which micro-plastics have been found
5. Health issues and diseases emerge.
Health concerns linked to synthetic fibres
Plastic fibres and chemicals can penetrate skin ending up in blood, cells and organs via heat, sweat, stomach and air. Symptoms linked include:
Various types of cancer
Hormonal imbalance Infertility in men and women Obesity Diabetes
Respiratory allergies & diseases
Liver Kidney disorders
Research on the link between the diseases and synthetic fibres and how human bodies deal with it are ongoing.
Tips to reduce synthetic fibre impact
Change is a process. In the meantime synthetic apparel remains in circulation. There is a dire need for consumers to become more aware and do their part, taking into account that between 600,000 and 17,700,000 micro-plastic fibres get washed down the drain in every 5 kg washing machine load of synthetic clothing.
Did you know, one acrylic scarf along can shed up to 300,000 microfibers during washing?
Did you know, one pair of nylon socks can shed over 130,000 microfibers during washing?
Did you know that the fashion industry discards close to 100 million tons of unsold items polluting our environment, seeping into soil, water and air going up in flames ?
Minimising fibre shedding/rubbing:
Wash less, avoid full loads, use liquid detergent low in PH and oxidising agent, as well as softener, wash no higher than at 30 degrees and use short cycles
Strong UV light breaks down synthetic fibres - dry in the shade
NO synthetics in the dryer chemicals
will be released into the home
Buy less synthetic clothes and wear them longer, if possible purchase those made from recycled materials
The alarming effects of plastic clothing on our health and the solution