Our little ones are the future of tomorrow and opting for sustainable, eco-friendly clothing for your little ones is a step into making this planet a better place of our children and the children of tomorrow to live in. The fashion industry is known as one of the most polluting industries in the world. Making a conscious decision to shop with sustainable and ethical brands will make a difference to the planet and for our children. Some may find sustainable wear for little ones are costly and difficult to find but that's not case as there are many that holds the purpose of being comfortable while being safe for our planet and our children. Behold! 5 dangerous chemicals that can be found in ordinary everyday children wear.
In order to produce the kind of regular clothing we and our little one’s wear on an everyday basis involves over thousands of synthetic chemicals in its production. And over the years, a majority of these chemicals have been proven to be dangerous, toxic and carcinogenic (causes cancer). It's of no surprise that parents are becoming more and more conscious with what goes into their little ones and what comes in contact with their skin. Some of these chemicals become part of our clothing from the very beginning, either as toxic pesticides (Cotton) or petrochemicals (polyester, nylon, acrylic). Processes like scouring, bleaching, dyeing, and finishing are all chemically intensive and have been proven to leave behind residues that cause rashes, allergies or worse.
5 dangerous chemicals found in children wear:
- Phthalates - are a group of chemicals most commonly used to soften PVC (the plastic polyvinyl chloride). There are substantial concerns about the toxicity of phthalates such as DEHP, which is reprotoxic in mammals, as it can interfere with development of the reproduction orgarns in early life.
- Antimony - Used in a fabric, it is most often referred to as “polyester” or “poly”. Antimony is a carcinogen, and toxic to the heart, lungs, liver, and skin. Long term inhalation causes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
- Organotin compounds - are used in biocides and as antifungal agents in a range of consumer products. Within the textile industry they have been used in products such as socks, shoes and sport clothes to prevent odour caused by the breakdown of sweat. Evidence emerged that it persists in the environment, builds up in the body and can affect immune and reproductive systems.
- Heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, and mercury - have been used in certain dyes and pigments used for textiles. These metals can accumulate in the body over time and are highly toxic, with irreversible effects including damage to the nervous system (lead and mercury) or the kidneys (cadmium). Cadmium is also known to cause cancer.
- Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) - are manmade chemicals widely used by industry for their non-stick and water-repellent properties. In the textile industry they are used to make textile and leather products both water and stain-proof. When accumulated in body tissue and biomagnify (increasing in levels) through the food chain. Once in the body some have been shown to affect the liver as well as acting as hormone disruptors, altering levels of growth and reproductive hormones.
Our decision plays a huge impact into the sustainability of our planet and the well-being of our children and their children. All of us needs to play a role by putting more thought into products and clothing items that we purchase, because it is near impossible to stop factories from producing fabrics with non-eco dyes and harmful chemicals that gets washed away in our oceans and air. Keeping this in mind, even though we cannot eliminate them from producing these materials right away, we can do our part by not supporting them, while educating our children to do the same, so that we can move closer to the day that these companies realize that there is little to no demand for products like this. The textile industry contributes to 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide, and has caused severe damages to people and animals that rely on the waters these chemicals end up in. The time has come for us to take that step into taking care of mother nature, and teaching children that would greatly impact the progress.
Typically, apart from being comfortable, a majority of sustainable fabrics are moisture-absorbing, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic. Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester, and acrylic, will decompose in about 20 to 200 years, adding to the overwhelming problem that we’re currently facing where textile wastes are overflowing and filling landfills. It is assuring to know that when your children’s clothing has come to the end of its lifespan, it will break down and naturally biodegrade.