You are what you wear by O Ecotextiles.

I don’t mean like in “the clothes make the man” kind of way, but in the “our bodies absorb chemicals found in our environment” kind of way.

The new science of biomonitoring has enabled scientists to take the guesswork out of the effects of toxic exposure in blood, urine, breast milk, semen and all the other parts of us where chemicals tend not to flush out. It has brought home the truth in the saying that we are what we wear – or eat, sit on, breathe, rub up against or drink. The “environment” is not “out there” as David Suzuki reminds us: We are the environment and it is us.

Specifically with regard to fabrics: over 2,000 chemicals are used in textile processing, and these include some of the most toxic known (lead, mercury, arsenic, formaldehyde, Bisphenol A, PBDE, PFOA). There are no requirements that manufacturers disclose the chemicals used in processing – chemicals which remain in the finished fabrics. Often the chemicals are used under trade names, or are protected by legislation as “trade secrets” in food and drug articles – but fabrics don’t even have a federal code to define what can/cannot be used because fabrics are totally unregulated in the U.S., except in terms of fire retardancy or intended use. It’s pretty much a free-for-all.

What they’re finding is that this chemical onslaught seems to be changing us. Using a computer-assisted technique called microarray profiling, scientists can now examine the effects of toxins on thousands of genes at once (before they could only study 100 at a time at most). They can also search for signs of chemical subversion at the molecular level, in genes and proteins. This means that we are beginning to understand how even small doses of certain chemicals may switch genes on and off in harmful ways during the most sensitive period of development.

So why not seek products - fabrics, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, deodorants, food - that don't contain chemicals that harm you - or your children or grandchildren?


  1. Would you buy a golf shirt which contains arsenic?
    Would you buy a golf shirt which contains lead?
    Would you buy a golf shirt which contains mercury?
    Brands are free to use any of these and other toxic chemicals and they do not have you tell you.

  2. As for me, I always were cotton shirts, maybe , they are not as useful and long lasting as chemical one, but they fell right on the place

  3. It is not just about the fabric, as the dyeing process uses many toxic chemicals. There is no transparency and hence little consumer awareness of what chemicals are used and discharged.