Did you know that the clothes we wear can affect our health? Because our clothes come in close contact with our skin, they can emit particles that we breathe.
If possible, choose clothing made from natural, untreated materials. Fabric treatments can emit toxic chemicals, so avoid clothing with labels that say “stain resistent,” “waterproof,” or “shrinkproof.”
Avoid flame-retardant clothing that has been treated with polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or “PBDE’s.” These chemicals can affect thyroid hormones, and cause reproductive harm.
Use dry cleaning services that do not use perchchloroethylene (PERC). PERC has been linked to various cancers. Studies have shown that people breathe low levels of this chemical when they wear dry-cleaned clothing and spend time in indoor spaces in which dry-cleaned items are stored.
If you must use traditional dry cleaning with PERC, open the plastic bag outdoors, discard the plastic immediately, and air your clothes out before wearing them or hanging them in your closet.
Avoid fabric softeners that contain harmful fragrances and chemicals. Make your own fabric softener using baking soda or white vinegar.
Stop using chlorine bleach. Chlorinated hot water in the washing machine can release chloroform, which is believed to be a carcinogen.
Avoid whitening agents. Many of these chemicals are similar to diethylstilbesterol, or “DES,” which is a potent synthetic estrogen.
Avoid using mothballs. These products contain naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. These chemicals are believed to be carcinogenic. Use cedar products or lavendar sachets instead. If you have clothes stored in mothballs, open the containers outside and let the clothes air out before wearing them.