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Toxins in Your Clothes

A growing body of research suggests we are subjected to daily exposure from all the chemicals in our environment. In fact, new research from Sweden’s Stockholm University suggests that there are thousands of chemicals just in our clothes. The investigators tested 60 garments from Swedish and international clothing chains. The study team found that they contained thousands of chemicals, and that they were able to identify about 100 of them. The investigators then analyzed 27 textile samples before washing and again after 5 and 10 washings. They detected benzothiazoles in 85 percent of the samples, and reported that washing the fabrics 10 times decreased concentrations of the chemical by only 50 percent. They reported that this chemical was even detected in some clothes made with organic cotton. Other chemicals identified included quinolines, which are also found in cigarette smoke and are classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as probable human carcinogens. Quinolines were found in polyester; and their levels decreased by only 20 percent after 10 washings. At this point, the investigators were unable to comment on the potential health effects of wearing clothing that contained the chemicals detected in the study. Stay tuned.