Thousands of chemicals, literally, are used in the manufacture of clothes. Researchers have been underway around the world to determine the chemicals in the clothes. Several chemical substances associated with health risks were identified in the process. That is why organic cotton is a super replacement for toxic textiles.

In a research which involves testing 60 garments from Swedish and international clothing chains, an initial analysis observed thousands of chemicals in the clothes and about hundred chemicals were preliminarily found to be toxic. It was found that several substances weren’t on the producer’s list initially and were suspected to be residues, by-products or chemicals that were added later during transport

Giovanna Luongo, PhD in Analytical Chemistry at Stockholm University, stated that the exposure to the chemicals enhances the potential risk of allergic dermatitis, thereby affecting the health and the environment. Several chemicals tested are found to have either carcinogenic effects or aquatic toxicity.

Based on the quantity, occurrence and toxicity levels and how easily they get through the skin, four groups of substances were selected for further analysis aromatic amines and quinolines were found to have pronounced concentrations in polyester. Cotton was found to have high concentration levels of benzothiazoles.

The researchers put the clothes under wash and measured the chemical levels. Some of the chemicals were washed off as they may end up in aquatic environments. Others remained as such in the clothes, turning out to be a potential cause for long-term dermal exposure. It isn’t easy to know how hazardous these harmful substances can turn out to be and what effect these chemicals will have on the health and surroundings in the long run.

Though what we had discussed above is somewhat elementary, there is more than what meets the eye. Clothes are quite intimate and they are the closest to the skin throughout. We must be conscious of what type of fabric material we wear and what it would do to our health. As Conny Östman, Professor in Analytical Chemistry, puts, “It isn’t easy to assess and needs a great deal of research.”