Fashion, your health and the environment

Google drycleaner and you will likely get a lot of information on Environmentally friendly drycleaners.  Eco Cleaners love to tout their stuff and warn of the dangers to health of using the traditional perc drycleaning solvent.  I am glad that awareness growing about the importance of choosing a responsible drycleaner.  It is true that perc fumes have been proven to be carcinogenic.  But the solvent is not all you need to think about.

Most of us are unaware of the dangers of many clothes we buy.
When you are shopping for clothes, your choices effect your health, your families health, and the health of planet earth.

What is my biggest concern? They are calling it fast fashion. . . and this trend worries me

14 million tons of clothing go into landfills in the us every day.

Then there are the chemicals that cant be good for our health or the planet:
polyester is plastic - its can last forever in a land fill
There is a reason we don't make these clothes here - these toxic chemicals are banned in the US
the chemicals used to acid wash or fade jeans is toxic

their are optical brighteners used on white clothes that are toxic and often wash out quickly.  So the clothes look old after just a few cleanings

there are coatings sprayed onto clothes to give them added body and sparkle - it is often toxic.
 --- One quick tip, wash your sheets with detergent then do an additional rinse before putting them on your bed the first time!  Wrinkle free coatings at one time were formaldehyde (I was told by someone in the industry that this is no longer true. However since it was never admitted, how can I confirm that? I recommend not buying any wrinkle free clothing).

These chemicals wash out of our clothes over time. Drycleaners cannot replace these optical brighteners and other textile chemicals back into your clothes because these chemicals are illegal in the US.   However other countries that manufacture using these same chemicals and using questionable social practices are booming. Look at the online clothing industry.  These clothes are cheaply made and intended for only a few uses.  The fashion cycle which used to be seasonal has been shrunk to only a few weeks!

Cashmere made in china has very short fibers and pills almost instantly.  The life of a sweater made that way is very short.  They tend to look old and worn after just one cleaning

The Silk made in china is not really silk.  Im not sure what it is.  I need to research it further but I know from experience cleaning it - it does not wear the way Italian or Traditional silk does.  it looses luster, fades and snags in a way that reduces its usefulness

In short - these are disposable clothes that are treated with toxic chemicals

There is also a social component here.  When you buy that $5 shirt or $12 dress.  It is likely that those items have circled the globe at least once using considerable fuels during its travels.

I make the joke that these disposable clothes are made by underaged under paid children in China. . . . and I worry that it is true. There is a reason that a sweater made by hand in America will cost hundreds of dollars while an H&M sweater is only $10.  I don't know that its true, but now I think I need to find out before I shop there again.

I am not an expert in this area, however I am trying to educate myself because I believe we all have the power to influence the world by making intentional choices when shopping.

You have the choice to buy a few better made pieces that will look great, clean great and last longer.  Buying American, and not buying into this disposable mindset, is a small yet powerful step towards a better world. Knowledge is power! It is my hope that people become more aware and intentional in their clothing choices.

Thanks for listening - Sasha


3 comments:

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