I think I have done a fairly decent job of keeping myself and my family healthy...we eat organic when possible, stay away from products made with PBAs, use paint in the house with low HOVs, use salt water to kill the weeds in our driveway instead of roundup...but who thought I had to micromanage the shirt I just bought? Or the jeans I buy for my kids...where does the invasion of harmful chemicals stop?
According to an article in The Business of Fashion
, Greenpeace International recently performed testing on the toxicity of articles of clothing that were made in countries where manufacturing regulations are less stringent. Many of the regulations that protect consumers in the States and Europe are not in place or not enforced outside of the country where the manufacturer is located. It is the cheaper labor and lax manufacturing regulations in countries like Mexico and China that appeal to these giant clothing brands. But at what cost to the person who actually wears the clothes?
The tests were conducted on some of the world’s most popular brands like Calvin Klien, Zara, and Levi’s to determine the amount of toxic chemicals in the cloth. Chemicals such as phthalates (which may disrupt both the male and female reproductive system in developing children,)azo dyes (azos made from benzidine are linked to bladder cancer,) and Nonylphenol ethoxylates were found in the clothing of all the lines to some degree or another. NPEs, which imitate the hormone estrogen, can also disrupt reproductive health by causing early menstruation in females and low sperm count in males. NPEs found in just under two-thirds of the 141 garments tested.
Many of the chemicals used in the manufacturing processes are actually banned in the US and Europe. Not only are we putting these chemicals against our largest organ (our skin) and inhale them as they break down, but they end up in our waterways straight from our washing machines.
The good news is that Greenpeace has started a Detox program for the garment industry. Through public pressure, Greenpeace and the Detox program have gotten commitments from seven major international manufacturers to phase out all toxins in their supply chain by 2020.
H&M is one of the companies that has made an effort to develop “green chemistry” and create new, innovative manufacturing processes. H&M, Mark and Spencer, and C&A have also agreed to make public their suppliers’ pollution data, to make themselves accountable for the processes they use in their manufacturing.
I plan to make my voice heard by using my wallet. I will not buy clothing from any of the manufactures who expose me to these chemicals, and who based their business on the fact that their profit is more important than my health.
For a full view of the Greenpeace Detox plan click here
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