Are Our Clothes Toxic?


Some of you may have already noticed: clothes can cause skin allergies or even more in some cases, there is the presence of endocrine disruptors or carcinogens.

How do you know if your clothing contains compounds that are harmful to our health? Can we avoid them? Are there any precautions to take before wearing a garment?

I will try to answer these questions as clearly as possible in order to see more clearly what we are blaming ourselves for and thus select the items that will be less harmful for us and the planet.

The Composition of the Clothes

Nowadays, a garment no longer has only a role of dressing: it must be anti-wrinkle, antiperspirant, circulate the air, be waterproof, anti-stain, flame retardant, contain patterns, and colors as well as materials. always softer or more innovative. To achieve all these results, we will use various chemicals and varied in textiles. These are the same products that can be harmful to our health.

What makes things even more ambiguous is that the label of the garment will only indicate the material of the fabric, so one cannot know as a consumer whether the product is dangerous or not.

Here is a list of products that are commonly found in clothing:

Nonylphenol: they are endocrine disruptors and have a detrimental effect on fertility

Perfluorinated: it makes clothes wrinkle-resistant and waterproof. They are endocrine disruptors. In utero, the disturbances are even more numerous: endocrine, growth, behavior modification, growth retardation …

Formaldehyde: it is a gas harmful to health, it allows the fabric not to wrinkle, to be water repellent, and more resistant. It, therefore, causes respiratory, eye, skin, asthma, allergies

Dimethyl fumarate: these are the small sachets containing white crystals, they are present for the transport and the conservation of the products. It is a very allergenic product on contact.

Dyes: can cause skin allergies, liver damage, kidney damage or even long-term cancer.

Flame Retardants: They are Endocrine Disruptors

Phthalates: are also endocrine disruptors. They are present in the writings on the clothes, the drawings …

Nanoparticles: often found in sports clothing. During washing, these nanoparticles are found in the water and therefore water pollution

Here is a list of the most common compounds found in our clothes. Without knowing it, we are putting our health and our environment at risk.

Can We Avoid These Dangerous Compounds?

The fact is that our clothes contain compounds that are dangerous for our health and even for the health of our children, pregnant women and their babies. How can we act to avoid these products and consume healthier clothes?

In 2011, the NGO launched the DETOX campaign to denounce dangerous chemicals in textiles and their release into nature (rivers) in China, Indonesia, and Mexico … In July 2018, 80 companies from the textile industry eliminated around ten toxic substances such as phthalates, heavy metals, formaldehyde, amines… It is estimated that by 2020, 72% of these companies will also have eliminated perfluorinated components.

The textile industry is therefore making an effort to no longer include dangerous compounds in the composition of clothing. Most of these companies are big names like Adidas, Benetton, HM, Zara… On the other hand, there are still a good number of companies that do not change absolutely the composition and the use of toxic products.

The Rules to be Adopted

For us consumers, we can apply some simple rules to avoid even more toxicity such as:

  • Always wash a garment before wearing it
  • Consume clothing made from organic cotton
  • Avoid clothes with patterns, plastic writings
  • Read the labels carefully and prefer products without solvents, natural fibers or even with ecological labels
  • Avoid odor-resistant clothing that contains a lot of chemicals that are harmful to you and the planet

With these few rules, we can act directly for ourselves and our well-being and thus promote “cleaner” industries.


Clothing may contain components that are harmful to our health and the health of your children. Obviously, you can’t manage everything because you have to dress well, but you can try to limit these products by paying attention to what you buy. Ecolabels and organic tissues are the criteria of choice that should encourage you to consume them.

The more we consume this type of product, the more the textile industry will promote this type of production that is more responsible for the environment. Let’s play!

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I am Jessica Moretti, mother of 1 boy and 2 beautiful twin angels, and live in on Burnaby Mountain in British Columbia. I started this blog to discuss issues on parenting, motherhood and to explore my own experiences as a parent. I hope to help you and inspire you through simple ideas for happier family life!


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