Beware! A recent Swedish report discovered that 10 percent of the 2,400 chemicals found in fabrics could pose as health threats to humans. Along with that, less than one percent is regulated in the U.S. CRAZY!
Reports show that workout clothes pose a greater threat than other clothing items. The reason for this is that movement plus sweat could release a larger amount of the bad chemicals. A handful of compounds found in workout gear can even pose a threat to wildlife if the clothes wind up in rivers and lakes.
These are the compounds you want to look out for:
Phthalates. These chemicals are found in vinyl clothing and in 2011, University of Pennsylvania scientists discovered that phthalates act as endocrine disruptors, which interfere with hormonal systems in the body.
Alkylphenol ethoxylates. These chemicals are found in detergents used by manufacturers to wash fabrics and they do not break down easily. What doesn’t get washed out, goes into local waterways and gather in the bodies of humans and fish. Research also suggests that reproductive problems in fish are linked to these chemicals.
Silver nanoparticles. These are very small, bacteria-fighting orbs found in hospital gowns, as well as used to make workout clothes. They are absorbed into your skin while you sweat. These pose little to no threat to humans, but as they break down upon washes, silver nanoparticles go into the water, where they may be toxic to beneficial bacteria living in soil and aquatic organisms.
Triclosan. This is used in anti-bacterial clothing, as well as anti-bacterial soaps and body washes. It may also be a hormone disruptor in humans and affect hormone regulation in animals.
Perfluorinated compounds. These repel oil, dirt and water, used in waterproof jackets and other types of clothing. They are associated with health issues such as prostate cancer and low birth weight. Many companies have completely stopped using them and other companies on on their way to doing so as well.
Here’s how to reduce your exposure to these chemicals:
Wash clothes before you wear them.
Buy and wear clothes from companies who are phasing out toxins.
Wear an old cotton t-shirt under your workout shirt to add a barrier.
Get the current list of Greenpeace’s Detox Leaders, Greenwashers and Detox Losers at www.greepeace.org to help find companies to purchase clothes from that are eliminating toxins.
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