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Much has been already discussed on the benefits of organic clothing and its impact on the environment we live in. Organic clothing also impacts the way agriculture is carried out with hosts of positives for farmers and agriculturists across the globe. Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has named 11 of the worst chemicals used in the production of conventional clothing:
Growing Fibres with highly toxic herbicides and fertilizers can prove dangerous. Chemically intensive natural fibre cultivated with the help of pesticides is often linked to carcinogenicity and neurotoxicity. Hemp and flax (linen) need much fewer chemicals.
Most conventional clothing is dyed with harmful synthetic chemicals. Azo dyes, banned in EU, break down into “aromatic amines”, a cancer causing agent. There are also other dyes used that contain heavy toxic metals such as neurotoxicants, mercury and lead. Cholorobenzes are also used to manufacture dyes; it mainly affects the central nervous system, thyroid and lever.
Protection against Pesticides and Fungicides:
To protect against moths and mould, pesticides and fungicides are used. Two of which are Chlorphenols and Chlorobenzes. Chlorophenols are heavily restricted in EU as they are highly toxic to human organs. Chlorobenzes bioaccumulate and persist in environment. They mainly affect the liver, nervous system, thyroid and are suspected hormone disruptors.
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are heavily regulated in EU, but not in the US. They are suspected hormone disruptors and toxicants. Short-chain chlorinated paraffins that bioaccumulate and persist in environment can affect the aquatic life.
Cleaning the fabrics:
Cleaning the fabrics requires chlorinated solvents. Trichloroethylene are found to be suspected developmental-, nuero-, kidney-, respiratory-, immuno-, reproductive- and endocrine toxicant. Alkylphenols (including nonylphenol ethoxylates) can affect the aquatic life as they bioaccumulate and persist in environment.
Water-, Stain-, and Wrinkle Resistance:
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) persist in environment and are closely linked to hormone disruption, reproductive and liver toxicity. Formaldehyde, also known as carcinogen, is advertised on clothes as “wrinkle free”.