I used to love watching Mr. Rogers shows about how crayons, macaroni, and erasers are made – those episodes are classic! — but there are so many things and manufacturing processes I wonder about. I heard Stephen Ezell of www.mygreenrefills.com speak, and he shared the reasons we need to continue to choose natural fiber textiles, and why we need to reject synthetic fibers. Our synthetic clothing and bedding is dangerous!
First, he explains that synthetic fibers such as rayon, which are made from petroleum, are spun in such a way that they need to add toxic chemicals to make that process work. Bamboo fabric sounds great, but even though the source material is bamboo pulp instead of petroleum, the fibers are spun in the same way as rayon, and the same toxic chemicals are added in the process.
Stephen tells us that synthetic garments, bedding, and other textiles are laced and impregnated with bromide chemicals, which are often used as an alleged “flame retardant.”
There are no regulations or laws that require manufacturers to disclose when they are using these chemicals, and they are impossible to ‘wash out.’ If you want to get them out, you will have to use an amazing amount of toxic chemicals. So washing baby clothes before you put them on your baby for the first time is not going to solve this problem. These toxic chemicals are obesegens (cause us to put on weight!), as well as interfering with our neurological development, and our hormones, and basically everything in our body!
Stephen suggests that we choose only organic natural fibers, as our budget allows over time.
He says that we should start with our bedding – sheets, etc, whose flame retardants are off-gassing. Avoid bamoo linens as well as synthetic fabrics! These are not safe! After you’ve chosen safe bedding, then you might start finding natural clothing.
- The Company Store also offers some organic basic bed items, such as down comforters, down pillows, etc. They also have organic sheets, but the colors are less beautiful and the design choices are less beautiful in general than Coyuchi or even Target sometimes, depending.
For clothing, it is harder to find natural fibers AND organic fibers. To start, try focusing on just buying all natural fiber clothing. However, there are some fabulous companies out there providing all natural fiber clothes, especially for men:
- American Giant – essential basics such as t-shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, etc.; however they aren’t advertised as being organic, and I think you will find better all-cotton t-shirts for men and women from Fruit of the Loom – better fit. They have a few products that aren’t natural fiber, so make sure you check before you buy. I recommend their Classic fabric, and I recommend against choosing their Premium fabrics. They’re both all cotton, but I don’t like the heaviness combined with stretchiness of the Premium fabric. They don’t yet offer a 100% cotton hoodie for women – but write to them asking for it, and maybe they will! They do offer a zipped hoodie for women in 100% cotton, but I don’t like zippered hoodies. Their 100% cotton hoodie for men is amazing. Their hoodies in general are the warmest you will ever find.
- Fruit of the Loom
- crew t-shirt: Ladies Heavy Cotton HD153 L3930. Beware of the heathered colors – but the solid colors are 100% cotton.
- v-neck t-shirt: Ladies 5 oz. HD Cotton L39VR Beware of the heathered colors – but the solid colors are 100% cotton.
- Urban Outfitters – I recommend this company to find casual women’s shorts. They take old vintage levi jeans (which are almost always 100% cotton), and revamp them. Recycle and all natural fiber at the same time! They sometimes have nice dresses, but it’s hit or miss..usually miss. most of them are cheaply made and cut with insufficient quality and skill.
- Hanes or Jockey – both of these brands offer 100% cotton underwear for women. I recommend the Jockey high cut, as these will stay put, and the elastic waistband is covered with cotton fabric for comfort. The Hanes french cut are fabulous, except they come in awful colors and the waistband is not covered and kind of cuts off circulation even though they’re high-cut.
- Patagonia – this brand is one of the most intelligent brands I’ve learned about. They are leading the way in research regarding micro-plastic pollution from laundering synthetic fiber clothing, and they offer several clothing items in organic, all natural fiber, such as tank tops and t-shirts.
- Filson or Faribault Mills – they offer winter scarves that are 100% wool.
- Christy Dawn and Urban Outfitters sometimes offer all cotton or all linen dresses.
Almost all natural fiber:
- Simply Vera Wang – this brand through Kohl’s offers leggings that are 95% cotton. These are the highest natural fiber legging I’ve found that are comfortable.
- http://www.LeadingLady.com – they offer one sports bra that has a higher content of cotton, but it is only 95% in the navy, and 86% in the athletic grey. This is still way higher than any other brand I was able to find in the true sports bra cut/style. http://www.Cottonique.com does offer a 100% cotton sports bra, but you can’t return items once taken out of the packaging.
Unfortunately there are things I haven’t been able to find in all natural fiber, such as
- women’s jeans
- sweatshirt hoodies for women
- sports bras or regular bras
- winter and spring coats
- feminine winter hat
- wool socks
The large majority of cotton clothing is made from GMO-grown cotton, and since these clothes are not organic (GMO is not allowed in the organic growing process), chlorine-family chemicals are added during the processing of the fiber, and residual chemicals are left on the clothes. You can get these chlorine chemicals out. Most 100% cotton clothes are free of the very toxic bromide chemicals that you CAN’T wash out. So, go all natural cotton, wool or linen, and if you can find it, go organic.
Besides chemicals that are off-gassing and being absorbed into our skin, there are even more reasons to choose natural fiber. The main reason is to prevent micro-plastic pollution in our water.
Every time we launder textiles, tiny fibers pull away and go down the drain — this occurs with natural fibers and synthetic fibers alike, but natural fibers aren’t plastic and are not toxic! Synthetic fibers ARE plastic, and when their fibers go into the water-supply, we can them call them “micro-plastics.” We are literally drinking our fleece jackets. Did you know that a single wash can release almost 3/4 of a million microplastic fibers? Single wash release 700,000 microplastic fibers
As far as I know, our city treatment plants are not able to filter out these micro-plastics. In addition, our fish and seafood are ingesting micro-plastics as well, which we are then ingesting when we eat seafood. Did you know that the danger of microplastics is that it floats near the surface and is mistaken as diatomic food source by many marine animals? Zooplankton are eating plastic. Did you know that microplastics are a huge danger to our oceans? Growing Threat to Human Health. We even ingest plastic when we eat sea salt.
Additionally, even land animals are ingesting micro-plastics as they are absolutely pervasive in all water sources today. Unless you are filtering your cow herd’s water through an activated charcoal water filter, they are ingesting micro-plastics.
Stop this toxic pollution at its source — buy 100% natural fiber textiles! Every time you purchase something that is 100% fiber, write to the company explaining why you chose that product to encourage them. If you buy something that is NOT 100% natural fiber, write to the company asking them to redesign the product to be made with 100% natural fibers (not bamboo or other cellulose based fibers!)
We have to come to terms with the fact that many of our current fashion trends demand micro-plastic fibers, such as skin-tight jeans. Try wearing 100% cotton skin-tight jeans – you won’t be able to move – LOL. So, we need to redefine what is stylish, and do so, using 100% natural fibers and work within the limits of natural fibers. Read the articles below to learn more.
We all know plastic is bad, but do we realize just how bad it really is?
Did you know that there are jellyfish like structures that can ingest microplastics and send them to the bottom of the ocean as waste (getting them out of the shallow water food cycle)? Jellyfish like organism ingests microplastics